The Mess Monster “Toy Jail”

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Teach your kids how to clean up after themselves and be responsible! Toys that are left out get placed in Toy Jail and can only be rescued by doing a chore of mom’s choice! It’s genius!

mess monster on a counter next to toys

I’m sure I am not the only mom out there who has to tell her kids a dozen times to clean up their toys, their shoes, their dirty socks, etc. Sometimes, after an hour of harping on them, it seems easier to just clean up the mess myself!

My husband told me that his mom used to have a big bag that she used to collect all the stray items that were left out around the house. She’d keep everything in her bag until her kids earned them back by doing extra chores or helping in other ways. I loved this “Toy Jail” idea, so I set off to make my own!

I named ours “The Mess Monster”, and so far, he’s been suuuuuuper helpful around here! 😉

Here’s a quick little poem I wrote a poem all about him –

You left it out and guess who came –

The Mess Monster, you know his name!

He picked your stuff up, one by one,

And now they’re his ‘til chores are done.

…and here’s how to make your own –

toy jail next to a cricut craft machine

Time needed: 20 minutes

How to Make a Toy Jail

* If you don’t have a Cricut, you can use a box instead of a sack. Then, print our Monster Face on some paper and tape it to the box.

Linen Sack
– Monster Face File (download below)
Iron-On Vinyl (I used black)
Cricut Machine
– Iron or Cricut Easy Press


  1. Grab our Monster PDF

    Download the free Monster PDF and upload it to Cricut Design Space.

  2. Cut the Iron-On

    Using your Cricut, cut the image out of the IronOn. Make sure you cut the mirror image of your monster design!

  3. Weed the Iron-On

  4. Secure your Design

    Place your design face-down onto your linen sack and iron it to secure it.

Mess Monster Download

To download a copy of our Mess Monster PDF, enter your name and email address in the form below. A new page will load with the file so you’ll have immediate access!

Have fun!!!

long image of a mess monster full of toys on the counter


  1. I’ve done this with chores & just paying a quarter per item, no matter the size. But they left a whole lot of items that they didn’t think was worth working/ paying for & I still was picking up items. I took the left over items & sold them in the Garage sale, but… I was still tired of picking up after 4 kids 7yr-18yrs, after them knowing or some reminders of put it away by bed time or it needs to be earned back. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m thinking of charging a chore from the child for each item I have to pick up.

    1. I think you are on to something- we recently started making our kids do 1 extra chore of my choice each time they leave a light on in their room and it seems to be gradually getting better. 🙂 They hate chores! 🙂

  2. I’ve been researching to find extra chores for our kids, to give them opportunities to learn and earn a little money. The concensus that I have come up with is that most parents use chores to punish their kids, the worse the chore the better. I have to admit, I have been one of those parents, but haven’t had much success. Yesterday I heard a concept that I LOVE and can’t wait to put it into practice. . .lots of details, but in a nutshell, our children should learn that working is a privilege and we need to be grateful for the opportunity and the blessings we have because we have chores to do. The concept is, that chores should NEVER be used as a punishment. This caught my attention, because in the world today, so many people don’t want to work, don’t want to do things they HATE. Why not make chores something they enjoy. . .make them fun. . .teach them to appreciate the things they have and the great opportunites that are theirs! Would you like to always be punished with something that you will be doing the rest of your life . . . .and hating it for the rest of your life. Just sayin’!

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