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I think you are doing fine. What I did was carry them while I cleaned up from the time they could grasp a toy in their fist. I would hand them a block or something now and then and ask them to pitch it in the bin while I cleaned up, so they were "helping." I'm talking as young as 5 or 6 months. They gradually did more and more on their own initiative. My feeling is that you "ruin" the spirit of the activity when you start making "requirements."

There are ways to make it fun though. One of my favorite ways is to pick a color or a shape, and suggest, "First pick up everything green." Or "Lets pick up everything round." You could try a timer and see how fast you can work. You can also use a truck of some sort to get the work done -- a dump truck or a front loader. Another thing thats fun is using a dustpan and little broom. My kids had their own at that age. Great for scooping up blocks or crayons.
 
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