Making imaginary cleaning play, real!

While observing our little one (now 18 months-old) steal our broom, dust broom, and dust pan to play clean up around the living room, my wife asked me to find a clean up toy for him to play with. I jokingly said that we should just get him the real thing and have him get some cleaning done while he plays. And then I wondered if toddler versions of cleaning supplies like brooms, mops, Swiffers etc. actually existed.

In looking around online, I realized even if companies don’t make toddler-sized cleaning supplies, there’s a brilliant hack that people have figured out to make a Swiffer kid friendly!

Photo by Robin Zebrowski

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The hack works like this: get a real Swiffer  take out the middle piece, and voila you have yourself and your child a handy dandy toy that makes imaginary cleaning play, real!

While tons of toys for creative play around cleaning exist ranging from entire sets of supplies to nice-looking broom and mop combos or singing vacuums  why not get the real deal and combine play with actual cleaning?!

Other folks such as Hint Mama and Mama Smiles and Karina Giglio in the Washingtonian recommend the Swiffer modification.

Making Play Cleaning Even More, Clean!

Here’s the thing, we try not to use chemicals in our house. So, not sure if we would go the Swiffer route as is. There are apparently claims and counter claims of urban rumors that Swiffer products can be harmful to pets or babies.

But wait, you can use a Swiffer mop without using the Swiffer pads! Yes, microfiber cloths used as is or with varied types of natural homemade or purchased liquids can substitute for the Swiffer brand pads. There’s also apparently something called the Libman microfiber mop, but I’m not sure if it allows for the kid-friendly hack to make it the right size for a child.

So Swiffer mop + microfiber cloths seems like it has some possibilities. Check out the microfiber hack mentioned by Two Clever Moms or some nice-looking reusable cloth Swiffer heads by the Happy Housewife

I actually never realized how many things you can do with microfiber cloths!

We’re going to try for a more natural or at least chemical-free version of this hack. In the meantime, I think my child is going to keep stealing the dust broom and dust pan to get his pretend cleaning on!

Any thoughts or experiences using natural version of cleaning supplies that could add some real cleaning to creative play?

What do you think about keeping play imaginative and creative, while also getting some cleaning happening at the same time?