This “Roll the Dice” Chore Game Got My Kid to Clean His Bedroom in 2 Hours

published Jun 7, 2023
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Messy kid's room before playing roll the dice chores game.
Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

I don’t normally need a lot of motivation to clean the house: If there’s a mess, I tidy up. But that’s not true for everyone — including my 6-year-old son, who, unlike me, can exist in a seemingly upturned bedroom.

Although I’ve used decluttering hacks like keeping a donation box nearby for outgrown clothes and toys, I also want my son to tidy up by himself, without my help. So when I saw the “roll the dice” cleaning tip on TikTok, I thought this might work to motivate my kid to do his chores — namely, clean his bedroom.

Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

Here’s how it works: You make a numbered to-do list of all the things that need to get done. In our case, we focused on small tasks relating to his bedroom, like making his bed and donating old clothes. The #CleanTok game uses a D20, or 20-sided die, to tackle the to-do list. (So your list would need 20 items.) In our case, we only had a D12 (a 12-sided die), so we kept our tasks to a dozen. Then you roll the die. Whatever number it lands on — say, 10 — you complete that number on your to-do list. It’s simple.

The hack, posted by content creator Aubrey Rose on TikTok, gamifies the often arduous task of cleaning — especially for kids and those who need extra motivation to get chores done.

Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

I showed my son Rose’s video and he was eager to play this cleaning game. In fact, he rummaged through his collection of dice — collected to play Pokémon TCG, although you could use a regular pair of dice and add the numbers — and started writing his list of chores on his own. I’ve never seen him this excited to clean his room!

We decided to add fun “chores” to the list, too, including eating a snack and having a dance party. That made the cleaning game extra fun. (Rose would drink water between rolls or eat a snack when she re-rolled a certain number, just to keep it interesting.)

Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

We set up a donation bin — something I learned from trying the Core 4 Method — outside his room to help us stay organized as we went through the list.

My son’s first roll was 5: cleaning his clubhouse, or the area under his loft bed. This was, by far, the biggest and most daunting task on his list, and I was hoping he’d land on something easier to keep him motivated. I was worried the time it would take to tackle his clubhouse would discourage him from continuing on. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen.

Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

He enjoyed rolling the die and finding out what task he would need to do next. And he completed every chore — even purging old toys and making his bed — like it was part of a game, one that he wanted to win. (It helps to have a reward at the end. In this case, he could eat three strawberry Hi-Chews.)

In about two hours, we were done with everything on the list, including the dance party. The donation box was filled with too-small clothes and toys he had outgrown, and his bedroom was organized and clutter-free.

Credit: Catherine Toth Fox

I can’t say this was the most efficient way to tidy up, but it was definitely the most motivating for my son — and a fun way to shake up my cleaning routine. (For example, I normally organize my to-do list by task. I would dump clothes in the washer or run the dishwasher first, then do the rest of my chores, to be more efficient.) And after the first few rolls, the same numbers kept popping up, which started to slow down the game. (That’s when rewards for re-rolling certain numbers would come in handy.) But overall, it was a fun way to tackle a list of chores — and a clever hack to get kids excited about cleaning. 

Best yet? My son’s already made a list for the kitchen.