Smarties Candy – Quick Cleanup Idea

We have Moms doing too much, because we have kids doing too little. I heard this quote a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.

As a mom, I like to think of age-appropriate ways to include my children in household chores.


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It’s helpful to me – but it also teaches my kids all kinds of great things!

I want them to learn:

  • how to take care of their things.
  • how to respect other people’s things.
  • how to clean up after themselves.
  • how to help someone else clean up a mess.
  • how to work together as a team…as a family!

When I am feeling overwhelmed by the mess around me, we all get movin’ – together!

Sometimes this means a quick cleanup session just before nap time and then again in the evening before our bedtime routine begins.

  • How can I make cleanup time as fun as possible?
  • How can I keep my kids motivated?
  • How can I keep everyone moving?
  • How can I encourage my kids to work quickly AND with a happy heart?

Here’s a Quick Cleanup Idea that has worked great around here!

Try This at Home

(Yes, it involves candy…Smarties candy to be exact.)

Bulk Batch of Smarties

Step 1: Open a pack of Smarties, and let your kids know that for every 10 items they pick up, they are going to get a Smartie!

Step 2: Say “GO”, and off they’ll go RACING (if they’re competitive like my boys) to clean up as much as they can as fast as they can!

Step 3: As they work, enthusiastically hand out those Smarties as they come running back to you each time – yes, until the whole pack is gone!

Metal Container Full of Smarties Candy

As they’re cleaning up, encourage them as they use their counting skills.

As they’re cleaning up, encourage them to be honest in their counting – not that MY kids would ever have a problem with that or anything! ha!

As they’re cleaning up, encourage them with lots of “Keep going!” – “You can do it!” – “You’re almost to 10!” – “Yay, you get another one!” – You get the idea.

Metal Container of Smarties Candy

Other Tips:

  • You may want to play music while everyone is cleaning. Nothing motivates my kids quite like an upbeat tune. “I like to move it, move it!”, anyone?Another Song Suggestion: “A Joyful Heart is a Good Medicine” by Steve Green – (Youtube Video of the Song Available Here)
  • Depending on your child’s age, you may want to adjust the number. For little bitty kiddos, maybe you want to encourage 3 or 5 items for each Smartie earned.
  • Sometimes I’m asking them to gather 10 little crumbs at a time off the kitchen floor and throw them away in the trashcan. (Around here, we produce a lot of crumbs!) Sometimes I’m asking them to gather ten small toys/items off the floor of the family room or play room and return them to their home. Want to read more about that? Check out Our Secret to Toy Organization!
  • Smarties not a good idea for your kiddo? Try something else! Would another type of candy or treat work better? Not a fan of using candy in this way? What about another item? Or a different type of incentive altogether to keep them working quickly and cheerfully?

Let me know if you try this with your kiddos! I would love to hear their ages…what kinds of tasks they’re good at…and how you’ve kept them motivated.

Metal Container of Smarties Candy

Try this in the Classroom

If you are a classroom teacher, this idea works GREAT in a school setting as well!

When I was an elementary teacher, it was the ticket to motivating my students to help straighten up the classroom at the end of a busy day.

In a classroom setting, I keep the Smarties in a treasure box!

Metal Treasure Chest Box full of Smarties Candy

Need Smarties?

You can find a large package of them here.

Bulk Batch of Smarties

Want to use something other than Smarties?

We’ve also had times when we’ve used marshmallows!

That works, too!

I have really been trying to implement more and more systems for positive reinforcement!

My kiddos are getting older, and they have been transitioning in to a new stage where I’ve needed to switch things up a bit, and this one trick has been the ticket.

Oh yeah, and this mama has loved having the extra help with cleanup!

Metal Container of Smarties Candy

Looking for more creative ideas for juggling household chores?

Try a Cleaning Swap! Over this years, this has been a huge help to our family!

Cleaning Swap

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  1. I think I need to buy some Smarties! 🙂 And now you have me singing, “A joyful heart is good medicine. Good medicine is a joyful heart…” I love the Hide ’em in Your Heart cds!

  2. Stephanie Cook says:

    Oh my goodness! This is fantastic! Going to use this with my 3 year old! May have to substitute with M&M’s today though haha!

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