Here’s a cooperative game we came up with to help our children think about helping to clean up around the house, in the context of a lesson on cleanliness. On a set of post-it notes, come up with a good number of things you might find laying around a home. About 15 or 20 things should be fine. Stick all of the post-it notes onto a sheet of paper and present them to the children. One by one, the children must pick one post-it note and stick it on the door of the room where the thing it represents should be put away. For example, a sock goes in the dresser, which is usually in the bedroom, so the post-it note would go on the door to the bedroom; a broom would go in the broom closet; a TV remote control would go in the living room; and so on. If the class is not being held in a home, different “stations” can be set up around the classroom to represent the different rooms of a home. You can also include some “garbage” items that should be placed in the trash, or “recyclable” items that should be recycled, or even “reusable” items, depending on your preference.
Once all the post-it notes have been placed, inspect them to make sure all are placed properly. Once this is done, gather them all up again and place them back on the paper. Next repeat the exercise once more, but instead of having the children come up one by one to pick a post-it note, ask them to divide them evenly amongst themselves, and have them go all at once to place them where they should go. Once this second round is done, inspect them again to make sure all are placed properly, and gather them up again once done. Finally, ask the children to reflect on the exercise. How long did it take to put everything away when placing the post-it notes one by one? How long did it take when everyone placed their notes at the same time? What about when we clean the classroom, or our room, or our house? Does it take longer when we work alone, or when we work together?