One of the most wonderful things about family child care is that it takes place in a family-like setting. We know that children learn through hands-on play and experiences in natural settings. What better setting for learning to take place than in a family child care program?
Take laundry day for example. To us, doing the laundry may be just one more chore that needs to be done between caring for our own families and running the child care. But, by involving the children, you can turn a mundane task into a fun learning experience.
First, we can teach children to put their own laundry into the basket or hamper. If you wash the cot sheets and blankets yourself, let the children put them in the basket when you put the cots away. They can also be responsible for putting doll clothing and other toys that need to be washed routinely, as well as towels, etc into the laundry basket. Encourage parents to have the children put their own cloths in the laundry at home.
- We can talk about why we sort laundry before we put it into the washing machine.
- Children can help measure and pour laundry detergent.
- We can talk about how the detergent mixes with the water and makes suds.
- We can talk about “wet” and “dry” and how hot air dries the clothes.
- We can listen to the sounds of the washer and dryer, feel the shaking when they spin, and smell the detergent and clean laundry.
- Children can help sort and fold clean laundry.
- Think about all the different textures in the laundry basket!
- Folding clothes lets children sort , match and compare.
- Children can learn cooperation by folding larger items like towels together with you or another child.
- If you hang your laundry to dry, child can practice fine motor skills by using clothespins.
- Lastly, children gain a sense of pride and accomplishment when they help out!
You might want to add some materials to your dramatic play area so children can “do the laundry” on their own. I found the clever idea for creating a washing machine and dryer out of big cardboard boxes over at A Mom With A Lesson Plan. You can also provide baskets, doll clothes, washcloths and baby blankets. You could also hang a “clothes line” and provide some clothes pins.
Suddenly laundry doesn’t seems so mundane anymore does it?