Transforming routine chores into learning moments: the laundry edition
Even the most mundane tasks like sorting laundry can turn into a fun and educational activity for your little ones. This everyday chore offers a myriad of learning opportunities, ranging from operating the washing machine to the simple act of folding clothes. Toddlers aged two and a half onwards can surprisingly take on some of these tasks!
Here’s how to engage your child during laundry time:
Encourage them to interact with the washing machine
A child adding laundry into the washing machine Little ones often enjoy interacting with household appliances. They love to engage in actions like loading clothes into the machine or pulling them out of the dryer, guiding the pouring of detergent, and exploring the knobs and buttons on the washer.
Involve them in sock matching
Between the ages of 19 to 24 months, many children start to categorize items of the same kind. This is when color, size, and shape differentiation comes into play. The varied colours and patterns of socks make them an ideal tool for a matching exercise. Lay out different types of socks in front of your child and ask, “Can you pair the socks that match?”
Sorting clothes according to the family member
A child trying to sort clothes by owner Guide your child to sort a laundry pile according to who each item belongs to: “Can you find your t-shirts? Can you find Daddy’s trousers?” Around the age of 18 months, kids begin to understand ownership concepts.
Introduce them to folding
Kids as young as two and a half can start learning to fold. Montessori classrooms use specially marked clothes to teach this to toddlers. Here’s a step-by-step guide if you want to try it at home:
Demonstrate how to fold a cloth napkin or small towel in half and see if your child can replicate your actions. To create your DIY folding cloths, mark a few handkerchiefs, washcloths, or dish towels with a permanent pen. Create lines vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Show your child how to fold along each line, tackling one type of fold at a time. Then, let your toddler give it a try. Folding aids in understanding geometry and symmetry concepts.
Teach them to put away their clothes
A child placing folded trousers into a basket Designate a specific place for your child’s folded clothes and guide them to put them away. To facilitate easy access, you could place socks, pyjamas, t-shirts, and trousers in lower drawers, cubbies, or baskets on the floor of the closet.
Incorporate laundry into daily routines
A child placing clothes into a laundry hamper in their room Encourage your child to put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper at the end of each day. This becomes part of their bedtime routine.
While the assistance of a toddler may not always speed up tasks, it’s a valuable opportunity to teach them life skills. By including them in household chores, you nurture their confidence, create a sense of involvement, and transform everyday tasks into enjoyable learning experiences.