Pack and Play: Games for Moving to a New Home


As the closing day on our home quickly approached, my mom to-do list compounded and compounded to be ready for the moving truck. I had so much to do with so little time, especially with a business trip scheduled the week before the move. My super, single mom cape covered my back until I had an ah-ha moment to have my daughter help me and learn a life lesson of minimizing her belongings.

The packing challenge sounded fun, helpful, and productive to her. She accepted with a smile and bounced down the hallway to her bedroom. After about ten minutes, one of the “bad words” in my mommy dictionary came out of her sweet mouth – B-O-R-E-D! “Mommy, I am bored,” she said. My mind kicked into creative mode to make packing moving boxes fun for both of us. We played three games throughout the moving process, when we packed and unpacked to get the task done with a kiddo’s contributions. Give them a try!

Game #1 is Race to X (number of minutes)

Pick a closet, room, toy chest or cabinet and assign it to your kiddo. Determine the number of minutes that you want your kiddo to focus or how long you have to work on that task. Turn on some upbeat music and set the timer. Ready, set, go! Once the timer rings, your kid is free to play. We did Race to 45. My daughter thought 45 minutes would take forever. She was pleasantly surprised at how fast it went by with a target and a light at the end of the packing box challenge.

Game #2 is Keep, Donate or Trash.

Determine three areas labeled keep, donate, and trash on the floor or with moving boxes. Define the three areas in kid-friendly terms. Do a few of the items together to make sure your kiddos have a clear understanding. Ask your kiddo to do round one alone by taking an item and putting it in one of the piles. For round two, focus on the Keep pile. Ask the question – when is the last time that you used, read or played with that toy, book or game? The answers are priceless, so get the quote book ready. Repeat round two as many times as needed, until the Keep pile meets your satisfaction. For the donate pile, see game #3. For the trash pile, grab a trash bag and get it to the trash can quickly before the wavering. I found this game very insightful, as you will discover what items your kiddos cherish for very simple reasons. 

Game #3 is Guess Who Gets It

For the Donate pile, organize the items into groupings like toys, clothes, books, and household items like blankets, sheets, etc. Use the groupings to guess who gets it based on the list of family, friends or a charity who can best use the items. It is a great opportunity to foster a spirit of gratitude for having items that others may not have, and a spirit of generosity to donate to others. If your kiddo can be involved in the delivery or drop-off of the items, it serves as the end of the game in their mind. We have several dear family friends who we gift items to with pure joy. It creates a bond of memories that continue to live on.

These three games minimized my mommy stress of packing up our house AND kept my daughter focused on how she could contribute to this exciting life event. As the movers loaded the truck, I reminisced on many memories in that home to include the pack and play memories from our three moving games. Wishing you the best in your packing endeavor! 


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