If you’re a parent, you’ve probably learned that the best burglary deterrent is millions of LEGO pieces strewn about the floor. While this is probably a more painful, albeit cheaper alternative to a house alarm, it might not be the best idea. But, I’m guessing that you’ve stepped on your fair share of LEGOs and are maybe looking for a good way to get your kids to keep their toys picked up. While stealthily placing those painful little bricks outside their door at night might sound like a good comeback, it probably isn’t. Fear not, tender-footed parents! We have the solution! Welcome, the toy ransom box!
This easy, cheap, and ingenious little trick will have your kiddos picking up their messes when asked unless they’d rather do a chore, and what kid just loves to do chores? Ok, ok we know some kids actually do like chores and this isn’t really meant to be a punishment, but this is how we see it: parents HAVE to do housework and chores to keep the home running smoothly, and when we must stop to clean up the kids messes, sometimes, something we were needing to do doesn’t get done.
Here’s what you’ll need: 1 medium to large sized box, our printable sign, chore printed or written on strips of paper, a plain piece of paper for making a pocket for the chore strips, and some tape! That’s it. I’m sure you have a box or a plastic tub around the house or in the attic, and, if not, you can get them at Target or Wal-Mart for under $7. Just click [here] to download our fun printable poem and tape it to the outside of the box. First things first, think up some age appropriate chores and write them on strips of paper. Fold another piece of plain paper and tape it to your box to make a pocket to hold the chores. Tape our poem next to the chore slips, and you’re good to go!
Once a toy is left out after bedtime, just scoop it up and into the toy ransom box. When your child comes looking for the toy, direct them to the chore slips on the box. They may then choose a chore to do in order to earn back the toy they left out. It’s that easy!
Here are some chores we think are pretty age appropriate for most kids:
- have them wipe down the cabinets or refrigerator with some non-toxic cleaner
- have them gather up any dishes or cups that might be laying around the house and place them in the sink
- load the dishwasher
- sort laundry (show them how you expect for it to be done)
- put away laundry (again, show them where things go)
- clean their rooms (make it clear that cleaning their room does not mean stuffing everything in a toy box or the back of the closet)
- care for the family pet (feed, water, give bath, groom)
Now, we’d like to hear your suggestions! Leave some chore ideas in our comments section for other parents.