Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Racing the Clock

Need to get a bunch of house work done in little time??  I need to tell you about one of our favorite games.  We call it "racing the clock".  FUN! 

It's a fantabulous way to get allot of work done in a short amount of time, and it's fun!  Sometimes we race the clock for a prize.  Sometime we just set a goal and whoever reaches their goal in the time allotted gets a mug of hot chocolate/cider.  Most of the time we simply race the clock to see just how much we can accomplish in as little time as possible.

The only problem with racing the clock is you have to be sure you don't get careless in your work.  If it isn't done right, that particular thing will have to be re-done and the person in charge of it doesn't get to claim the victory.  We must do our best and get the job done right!!  Like I always say, "why do it twice when you could have done it right the first time"?

Here's how it works:

  1. Directions: Set a kitchen timer for 15 minuets...or just watch a clock.
  2. Hand out jobs that need to be done.  Be sure the jobs are age appropriate. 
  3. Everyone starts their job at the same time. 
  4. Everyone works as hard and as fast as they can until their job is done or the timer goes off.
  5. The Goal.  If someone gets done before the timer goes off, but their job is not complete or not done well, the prize goes to the next person whether they were finished or not.  The goal is to work fast, but quality is important too. 
  6. Options: you can race an event.  For instance, daddy is going to be home soon, lets clean up the living room!  Or, your friends will be here in 5 minutes, we need to wash the dishes.  How 'bout...I bet I can mow the lawn before you 2 have the kitchen/bathroom clean!!  (Works every time!  I always pretend to be upset when the beat me, (and sometimes they do!) but inside I'm tickled because we just got so much done and the kids had fun!
  7. Music makes it fun too.  Especially at Christmas time.  You don't know what fun is until you hand out 4 jobs to 4 small children, turn on "Frosty the Snowman" and promise them they can all have hot chocolate if they get their job done well before the timer goes off!!  
  8. Prizes.  I have found that offering one prize for the first one done causes problems.  I'd rather tell them all that they are not racing each other; they are racing the clock. (This also promotes team work.  We are all working together to get the house clean.  We are a team!)   Sometimes I hand out the prize to everyone except for the one who didn't do their best.  Sometimes I hand out a "first place prize", although it's kind of hard at times to determine who did the best (and don't forget the age appropriate factor).  I certainly don't have a problem giving the prize to only one child. Its a "life lesson". We don't all win at everything in life.  Life isn't always fair.  Better get used to and over it now then grow up and expect the boss/world to hand you everything the way mama did!! 
  9. Prize ideas:  A cup of hot chocolate, a piece of watermelon, a piece of gum, or a chance to help bake zucchini bread are all good rewards for beating the clock and all of them can have it.
  10. Jobs:  You can all work on a big pile of laundry or you can all do different things.  My favorite thing is to send everyone in different directions.  Between 4 kids and myself, we can almost get the house cleaned up in 15 minuets!  This works great when you discover you are about to have unexpected company, or right before bed (but after the kids have brushed their teeth...gotta clean those tooth paste wads out of the sink!).
**Note:  I don't always give them detailed instructions on how to get the jobs done.  The older 2 are now 11 and 9.  Sometimes, I give them a list of things that need to be done and let them decide who does what or if they're going to work together on it all.  It's very good for them to figure things out on their own and work together.

Oh!  And, if they don't get done in time - remember, it's a timer!  You can set it again!!

I love to put things away before I put the kids away for the night. ;)  I like to know that the house will be clean when I wake up in the morning...for a few minuets anyway.  (I think you have wake up before the kids if you hope to see a clean house next morning!)

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