100 EPIC IDEAS on how to make kids chores fun!

It’s all very well doing fun things with your kids, but how do we make everyday chores – like having a bath or eating your veg – into epic adventures? How do we take the stress out of guiding our children into doing the things they often don’t want to do?

As Mary Poppins once said:

‘In every task that must be done, there is an element of fun.

Find the fun and SNAP, the job’s a game!’ 

So with that in mind, here’s our list of 100 ways to make the everyday EPIC. They range from little changes and inventive ideas, to brand new routines and perspectives.

Idea 1

Turn your toothbrush into a rocket ship, a ballerina, a giant squid, or pretty much anything! Cut out wings/tutu/tentacles from thin card and decorate. Laminate or cover your design in clear tape and attach to your favourite toothbrush. Now you can have fun while you brush.

Idea 2

Write chores on lolly sticks and make them into ice lollies. That way, when the kids have an icy treat, they’ll also get a chore to do when they’re finished. (You can leave some empty too, so they get away with it now and then, or even add in the odd adventure).

Recipe Cherry Lolly

Idea 3

Host a bath-time festival. Pump up the tunes, get the bubble machine going, and have a boogie. You could even let them enjoy an ice pop once their settled. And if you’re feeling really funky, add a little bath dye to turn the water a cool colour.

Idea 4

How can we help kids with performance anxiety? Use the spaghetti noodles technique (getting them to flop their arms and legs about) to show them how to stiffen and relax their muscles. This becomes almost like a form of meditating, and will help them to relax and calm down.

girl spinning around playing

Idea 5

Worried about visiting the dentist? If your child is anxious about cavities and getting told off, use a report card/ calendar to mark off when they brush their teeth each day. Then, when it comes to dentist time, you can proudly show it off and make them feel great.

Idea 6

Are your little ones little fidgets at the hairdressers? Make sure you go prepared with some EPIC reading material to keep them distracted!

Idea 7

Create a routine that teaches your children to put their clothes on in the morning. Firstly lay their clothes out. Get them to sit down to put on their underwear and socks (every hero has to wear underwear!). Get them to JUMP into their bottoms. And lastly, ask them to SUPERHERO PUNCH their arms to the sky (put on their top).

team of kids dressed as super heros

Idea 8

How about instead of building sand castles on the beach you build a ball run. See how far you can make it go – add twists and turns, rises and falls. Take a simple activity and make it EPIC.

Idea 9

Potty training can be easier with special magic stickers – they change colour or design as they get wet. Kids will enjoy the little reward. Here’s just one example of training stickers, but there are loads to choose from.

Idea 10

How about planting your own alien garden on the window ledge? Try things like Venus Fly Traps, Lithops and Cacti. They’re easy to grow and look after, plus they look pretty out of this world.

Idea 11

If you’re on a long journey in the car, get the kids to make acronyms or words out of license plates they see. E.G. A license plate that reads 0EF could be an ‘Orange-Eating-Frog’. Whoever’s is the funniest wins.

Idea 12

Make an infomercial with your kids to encourage them to help with the chores. Write a script and choose a set (preferably the dirtiest room). ‘The cleaning power of the worlds best glass cleaner. Bang and the dirt is gone!’ Record it on your phone or camera and show it to the family.

young girl dressed as super hero holding cleaning products

Idea 13

Make their dinners into adventures. Get creative – mashed potato and beans can easily be turned into an erupting volcano!

Idea 14

Assign a superhero skill to your vegetables to make them more attractive to your children. For example, Broccoli might give you super-strength, carrots give you x-ray vision etc.

cartoon fruit as super héros

Idea 15

Want your kids to talk to you about their day? Why not play ‘two truths and a lie’ after dinner. Go around the table and get each person to tell two truths and one lie about their day – everyone else has to guess the lie. It’s a fun way to get them to open up.

Idea 16

Struggling to get the kids to recycle? Use our Adventure Guide to make paper planes and shoot them into the recycling bin. Which style goes the furthest?

Idea 17

Play make believe with your veggies. If you’re a velociraptor, you need to eat five ‘miniature trees’ to outrun the T-Rex.

Idea 18

Struggling to get the kids to get ready? Try something a little different. Why not challenge them to get dressed with their eyes shut. Or play a little music to help them wake up and get them to dance their way into their clothes.

Idea 19

It’s important to get your kids to go out for a walk now and again. To make it more exciting you could go geocaching or on a scavenger hunt. We’ve got a Scavenger Hunt Adventure Guide to help you plan that too!

geocache box semi hidden under leaves

Idea 20

Get the kids involved with food prep. Let them help grate the cheese or mash the potatoes. The better and more dextrous they get, the more you can introduce trickier elements E.G. using a knife (plastic, then metal) or eventually the electric whisk. Don’t be scared to let them learn new skills – best they learn to do it safely than play about on their own.

Idea 21

Every little boy should have target practice when potty training. All you need is a few Cheerios floating in the toilet for him to aim at.

Idea 22

At Christmas, present your children with special pyjamas to wear on Christmas eve, and wake up in to open their presents. It’ll become a tradition they’ll look forward to and part of the bedtime routine on a day when most kids don’t want to go to sleep.

Idea 23

And the Best-Fastest-Dressed goes to… In the morning, set a timer and whoever gets ready first wins. This includes getting teeth and hair brushed, and putting clothes on. As a small prize the winner could get to choose an activity to do after school.

Idea 24

Telling the time. Use the ‘secret identity’ concept to make learning to tell the time more fun. For example a ‘2’ on the clock can actually mean 10 past the hour. Telling a story can help children learn. You could even use/make a layered clock together to make the idea more visual.

click in colour paper

Idea 25

At Christmas, make your own advent calendar. All you need are paper cups, a little tissue paper and some rubber bands. Fill the cups with treats, cover with tissue paper and secure with the band. And for an extra twist, why not make each day come with a ‘chore’ or equivalent, to be completed before the paper can be popped and the gift revealed. They could always be Christmas-themed chores (and they could be a little bit treaty too – like clearing up after we make Christmas cookies).

Idea 26

When teaching a child to swim pretend the float is a boat. With the child holding on and you controlling the speed, get them to chant ‘Faster Boat!’ or ‘Slower Boat!’. This will get them used to floating and the feel of the water.

Idea 27

Cut your children’s packed lunch sandwiches into cool shapes. Stars, circles, triangles, moons – plus you can eat the leftover bits yourself.

Idea 28

As a treat, create your little ones a summer holiday coupon book, with various things in it that they can cash in. Make them reasonable (1 hr of parent/child time, or a trip to the park), and set boundaries (this isn’t a way of getting out of homework, chores or bedtime). This type of thing is great used as a reward for something big like end of school term achievement.

Idea 29

Practice dexterity and balance by finding new uses for ordinary objects. Try eating jelly with chopsticks. Or carrying books on your head.

boy balancing books on his head

Idea 30

If a child helps to pack their own lunch, they get to choose the treat they get with it (out of the alternatives you’ve already hand-picked). This responsibility will not only make them more likely to eat their lunch, but also teaches them the basics of putting together a meal.

Idea 31

Encourage kids to put their shoes on with a ‘floor is lava’ game. Without their shoes, they can’t touch the floor, so they must find them and put them on to be able to go out.

Lava

Idea 32

Attach a square of cardboard or a playing card to your child’s bicycle’s back frame, so it just touches the spokes – this will make their bike sound like a motorbike as they ride. V-RROOOM!

Idea 33

Vinyl stickers on the underside of the toilet lid can remind kids to put the lid down. You could even make up a little rhyme to help them remember.

If you do a one or two,
Please be sure to flush the loo,
Then before you wash your hands,
Put the lid down, understand?

Idea 34

Timed challenge: Who can clean up the most toys before my three-minute timer goes off?

Idea 35

Get creative with meal-times. When you have the time and opportunity, have a picnic in the park, or in the garden, or even on the living room floor. Invite a guest to join you – a grandparent or neighbour. Create a meal with a theme – Spanish for instance, if that it something your child is learning about.

Idea 36

Use EPIC potty training pants that your child gets to wear when they graduate from nappies. The jazzier the better. They could even be superhero pants. But the important thing is that your child will feel good about being a grown up, and hopefully not want to revert back to the comfort of nappies.

Idea 37

Getting children to flush the toilet can be tricky. If you have pets, why not make it a trade off, aside from their normal chores, if they forget to flush their toilet they get an extra duty of cleaning out the pets cages/picking up after them. So they understand the consequences of leaving their toilet behind. It’s mean, but it works.

Idea 38

Encourage your children’s manners with a game of ‘P and Q spotting’. The person (Mum and Dad included) who says the most (genuine) pleases and thank yous at the end of the day wins a treat.

sign saying please and thank you

Idea 39

If your child makes their bed in the morning, when they get home from school, there may be a treat under their pillow. It could be something silly (like a colouring book/a lollipop/new pair of socks/a new bedtime story). But if they don’t make their bed they get nothing. If a treat a day seems a bit too much (which it might be if you’ve got a good bed-maker), you could change this to a treat for one week of made beds.

Idea 40

If your child’s a little touchy about getting their hair done, let them pick out their own style. Get new scrunchies and hair clips, and let them get involved with the styling. Make sure they can see themselves in the mirror.

boy with brightly colour hair

Idea 41

Healthy eating is hard. But a smoothie can be a great way of introducing fruit and veg into your little one’s diet. Give them out-of-this-world names and get your kids to help you make them (although maybe hide the fact you’re putting spinach in – call it space daisies instead). And a berry smoothy, that could be a Dracula Shake.

blackberry smoothie

Idea 42

When teaching children to tie their shoelaces, show them all the different ways they can lace their shoes too. This will help give them an identity of their own. It’ll take their mind off the frustration of learning all the loops too.

illustration showing various ways of timing shoes

Idea 43

Travel Bingo is a great way to keep the kids distracted while you are travelling. Put together a grid of things for the kids to spot and tick off on their journey.

Idea 44

Create a furniture obstacle course in your house to get the kids moving. Add specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing. What better way to stay fit?

Idea 45

If you’re getting the kids ready for a new year at school, why not have a back to school party. Invite some of their friends around and celebrate ‘School Year’s Eve’.

Idea 46

Muffin Tin meals are a great way to get the kids to try new foods. Get a 6-cup muffin tin, and fill each cup with a different food. None of the foods will touch and they’re in small enough amounts to not be overwhelming.

Idea 47

Help build confidence in your child by giving them some responsibility – things like feeding the dog every morning – and when they do it without being reminded, appreciate them. At the end of the week they can have a special breakfast of their own as a reward.

picture of dog on toast

Idea 48

Make putting your seatbelt on into an adventure. Strap into a rocket mission to the moon. And count down to lift off… 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

Idea 49

Just like you did with your toothbrush, add characters to your knife, fork and spoon to make eating more interesting.

Idea 50

Here’s a thought. When you engage in role play with your little ones and they want to be a fire-fighter or a doctor or a police man – remember to role play the emergency call too. This will familiarise them with what they would need to do in an emergency. They’ll know what number to call and exactly who to ask for.

kids dressed up as nurse and fireman

Idea 51

Make getting all your back to school goodies extra special by building a stationary bundle cake. You could make it as a surprise for your little ones if they behave. And it may even ease any of those back to school nerves/grievances.

Idea 52

Break up a sibling argument with distraction. Casually separate the children but don’t make it an enforced time out. Give individual time to each once fighting has subsided. Accept each child’s point of view, but don’t pass judgement without all the facts.

two smiling toys sitting on a bench

Idea 53

Have a movie night and dress up as your favourite characters from the film. Plus, you can make movie-themed snacks to enjoy while you watch. It will make the whole experience a little more epic.

Idea 54

Have a stock of fun games to play whenever you’re in a situation that involves a lot of waiting, like at the doctors. ‘Simon says’, ‘Would you rather…?’, ‘I spy’, and ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’ are great examples.

Idea 55

One day a week give your child free reign over the clothes they wear – let them pick everything out and put it on (whether it’s backwards or upside down). And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also let them pick out some clothes for you!

Idea 56

If your kids aren’t keen on hugging grandparents or relatives, give them a little autonomy over the greeting. Ask them, ‘Hug, handshake or high-five?’, that way they have a choice as to the level of touch they feel comfortable with. They’re still being polite in greeting a guest, but they don’t have to go all the way. If a high five is a little impolite for you a ‘Hug or handshake’ is just as good, or you can find your own alternative.

Idea 57

Create your own terrarium. You can change it every month to reflect the seasons. It will be a long-term project that lasts the year, teaching responsibility, green fingers and creativity.

Terrarium illustration

Idea 58

Laundry basketball. Attach a hoop over the laundry basket. That way the kids can practice their shots while they tidy up. If basketball is not their thing – stylise it with something they like.

Idea 59

Help teach your children some safety rules by integrating it into your everyday life. Use Green for Go and Red for Stop when you’re getting them to do day to day things, and they’ll get used to what those things mean in the outside world.

Idea 60

Bedtime doesn’t have to be a nightmare. One idea to make it smoother for the both of you is a pyjama walk. Head out for a short (calm) walk around the neighbourhood, for children too little to walk you can push them in their pram. The fresh air and elements will tire them out, and it’ll be a nice bonding ritual for the pair of you.

Idea 61

If your kids are really interested in TV, gaming or movies, why not flip them to the other side of the screen. Get them to choreograph a dance, stage an epic nerf battle or tell a fun story of their own. You could get them to perform it to the family, or even film it like a professional and have a showing. A unique twist on cutting their screen time usage.

Idea 62

Children won’t eat their greens? Get them to grow their own FOOD FOREST. Peas, strawberries, cabbage, mint, carrots are all good. Teaches responsibility, biology, and what do you know, they might even enjoy trying the fruits of their labours.

Idea 63

Make a horizontal read-along bookmark. These bookmarks underline the line your child is reading, making it easier for them to keep their place. You can decorate your bookmark however you like, and even make lots of them themed to your favourite series.

Idea 64

To allay any worries about going to the doctor, why not role play the event with your little one first. Get them to play the doctor and give you or a favourite teddy a once over, listen to your heartbeat with a stethoscope (headphones) and give you some medicine (fruit juice).

Bandaged teddy bear

Idea 65

Make a book more exciting for a reluctant reader, by acting it out with them.

Idea 66

Instead of throwing away old t-shirts or shorts, you should tie-dye them to give them a new lease of life. It’s fun to do, and you get a whole new set of funky clothes.

Idea 67

Turn your toothbrush into a rocket ship, a ballerina, a giant squid, or pretty much anything! Cut out wings/tutu/tentacles from thin card and decorate. Laminate or cover your design in clear tape and attach to your favourite toothbrush. Now you can have fun while you brush.

Idea 68

Studying doesn’t have to be a fight. Make it more interactive and kids will enjoy it as much as playing. Use practical and interactive methods. Teach about measurements by making a cake. Use some digital apps that turn learning subjects into games (there’s nothing wrong in that).

three girls learning measurements by cooking

Idea 69

Make a monster face for your bin or laundry basket to encourage the kids to feed it with rubbish or dirty washing.

Idea 70

Struggle to get the kids to have a drink in the morning? Why not turn their morning juice into EPIC HERO FUEL. Each day they can drink the drink and get the super power they need for the day – whether it’s confidence for a presentation or speed for sports day.

Idea 71

M&M cleaning. Each task achieved gets rewarded with an M&M. One for the kids and one for you as well.

Idea 72

Help the kids get involved with pet training by having them put on a show for you to showcase the tricks they’ve taught.

Idea 73

Give your kids their own shopping list with pictures of the things they need to collect at the supermarket. Keep them simple and safe, but let them have a little autonomy of their own. It’ll also teach them skills for the future.

young girl shopping for fruit

Idea 74

Make a sprinkler out of an old plastic bottle. Poke holes in a bottle and place at the end of your garden hose. It’s FREE and perfect for gardening and fun play on hot days.

Idea 75

The ‘Who can be the quietest’ game. Make kids lay down and be as quiet as they can. Likelihood is they will fall asleep. (Great for wind down time before bed).

Idea 76

Hide treasure around the house (sweets/spare change). Tell your kids that if they clean/tidy well enough they will find it all. It will be like a cleaning treasure hunt.

Idea 77

Use water pistols to water the garden. You can make wooden targets to hide among the flowers for the kids to aim at.

dad and children having water pistol fight in the back garden

Idea 78

Every once in a while make bath-time into spa-time. Give your kids an appointment time and let them ‘pay’ you at the end of the treatment. You can give them scalp massages, moisturisers, and put cucumber on their eyes. Let them have a posh drink and strawberries while they’re pampered. Remember to talk like a spa assistant – they’ll love the novelty.

Idea 79

If the bed time routine is becoming a struggle, why not try a good-night song that you sing every night, and signals that it’s time to sleep. How about the Lava song?

Idea 80

Make a zoologist journal for your kids to fill in important facts about pets they have or meet. They can jot down what they eat, what they drink, and how much exercise they need. These fun facts will help kids learn and get involved with pets, and also turn those interested into mini zoo keepers in the making.

Idea 81

Make homework more exciting. Once your little one is done with a reading assignment, take it a step further and do some creative painting based on what you’ve read. Don’t make the work feel like a slog. You could even paint out a maths problem. Or turn history into a song.

child with paint all over his hands

Idea 82

If it’s hair washing that’s proving a pest – why not invest in some funky coloured goggles or a sun visor to keep the shampoo out of their eyes. You can say they’re superhero goggles!

boy wearing goggles in the bath

Idea 83

Shopping trip scavenger hunt. Without letting the kids run loose, get them to try and find certain things like a ‘SALE’ sign, or the ‘three healthy things we eat for breakfast’.

Idea 84

Going back to school can be daunting or just annoying for kids. So before they go back perhaps together you could make a summer scrapbook of all the memories they’ve made in the break. From holidays, trips and playdates, to water-fights, shopping, fun food etc. Stick in souvenirs, and they can show their teacher when they return.

Idea 85

Taking the kids to the beach? Take their toy trucks along and create a construction site. Dig, move sand around, and dump. Collect shells, rocks and water. Who needs a bucket and spade?

Idea 86

Learning maths can be hard. Try and do some together every day. From number recognition (spotting numbers everywhere, build towers of cups), to counting up and down (songs and rhymes, steps and stairs, rocket countdown), ordering numbers (mix them up and reorder them, number cars and place them in numbered car spaces), sorting (order the fruit bowl – and count), simple adding and subtraction.

Idea 87

Make a birthday EPIC by presenting your child with a special t-shirt to wear on their big day. It’ll be exciting for them and make getting dressed much easier.

child wearing a home made birthday t-shirt

Idea 88

It’s time for a WAKE UP dance party! Start the day with music and dancing in your PJs.

Idea 89

Use dishwasher-safe coloured beads or waterproof tape to mark out areas of the dishwasher where certain items go e.g. cups up the side, plates at the back. You can create a key of what each colour means and the kids learn to load it properly. It’s easy when you make it into a bit of a game.

Idea 90

Make a sign to show how much toilet roll everyone should be using. Mark a point on the wall that the unravelled roll should not go past. ‘You Shall Not Pass!’

Idea 91

Want to get the kids outdoors more? Go camping in your back garden. You can cook hotdogs on a disposable barbecue, toast marshmallows, and look at the stars (plus you can still use the proper toilet if you need to).

marshmallows being toasted on a fire

Idea 92

If hair brushing is becoming a pain, why not play pretend. Open up your own salon (all you need is a chair, a hairbrush and some acting). You could even get your little one to do the hair of one of their longer-haired dolls or toys while you do theirs.

Idea 93

When your child is getting bored of walking and starts wanting to be picked up or put in their buggy, ask them if they can feel the wind blowing. Tug your child’s hand and tell them the wind is blowing you down the road. They’ll have to hurry to keep up!

Idea 94

Try making a themed shed for your bikes. Perhaps it looks like a cowboy’s stables (where they keep their noble steeds)? This should encourage the little tykes to put their bikes away.

Idea 95

If you want some games to help children become friends (at a party or school event) why not try, ‘That’s Me!’. One person stands up in front of the group and shares a fact about themselves – like their favourite animal or favourite colour. Anyone who shares that thing in common gets up and shouts ‘That’s me!’

Idea 96

Incentivise energy consciousness (lights getting switched off/water left running etc). Say that for every bill where the months power usage is the same as it was last year or less, they get one pound (or alternative reward). I’m sure you’ll see a lot more playing in the dark.

Idea 97

Make edible necklaces for your next road trip. Thread snacks with holes – pretzels, cereal, dried apple rings, biscuits – onto a string and knot as a necklace. They are fun and unique, plus it will keep your kids going while they’re sitting in the car.

Idea 98

Decorate the pavements with chalk for a washable art exhibition, or for games like hopscotch, football goals etc.

Idea 99

To help children manage their fear – put them in the driver seat – ask them what they would help reduce their anxieties. If the problem is scary shadows stopping a child from sleeping, their own solution might be to tuck a torch under their pillow and move their bed away from the shadows so they can’t see them. Ingenious! It’s problem-solving and fear-settling all in one.

Idea 100

If in doubt and you want to make any task fun, you can try racing against the clock, adding music or creating a story for why you’re doing it.

‘Life must be lived as play.’ – Plato

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