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Teaching Kids Important Skills with Laundry

Posted on 01/27/2016

Colored clothespins on rope

In any preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school classroom, you’ll find plenty of activities designed to help kids learn sorting and organizational skills. The younger groups will also be working on fine motor skills and providing sensory activities.

So what does that have to do with laundry? A lot, actually. We’re paying professional educators to do what we sometimes feel guilty about asking our kids to help us do at home! Now, I’m not against artificial means of teaching these skills, but let’s not be against the everyday, real-world experiences, either.

Classification

towels falling out of washing machineThe basic math skill involves sorting similar items into groups. You can certainly do this via worksheets, but many educators recommend a Montessori-style, hands-on approach.

Laundry sorting can take many forms, but here are a few:
• Sort by person
• Sort by clothing type
• Sort by color

If your child is very young or easily overwhelmed, you may want to begin with only one type of clothing, such as socks.

Fine Motor Skills

Folding or rolling paper or hanging pretend clothes on a clothes line can certainly help your child develop fine motor skills — but so can actually folding clothes or hanging them up!

Other fine motor skills are directly linked to clothing: zipping, buttoning, and tying. You can experiment with your child using different ways of folding or rolling clothing.

Scientific Process

stack of brightly colored folded towelsCould folding clothing differently actually allow you to put more items in a drawer? According to one T-shirt fan, a new way of folding T-shirts completely transformed over-stuffed drawers into organized spaces with plenty of room to spare. Perhaps you could employ the scientific method and see how different folding or rolling techniques can help reduce your over-crowding problem.

For younger kids, simply using a grid to track how many shirts various family members have or the prominence of certain colors in their wardrobe can provide an interesting step toward building those all-important STEM skills. After that, you could convert the data into a percentage or display it in a different format, such as a pie chart or bar graph.

Competition

Why not race your child (or have two siblings race each other) through the sorting, folding, and putting-away process? You might be surprised at how quickly it gets done. You might even want to make it interesting by offering a prize or some sort of incentive. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice neatness and order for speed, so you’ll have to put out some kind of qualifier. Perhaps another family member could be the judge of the neatest drawers, and you could establish a points system that includes both speed and neatness.

Of course, laundry isn’t the only everyday avenue you can use to teach your kids life skills, but it’s one of them. And maybe you’ll end up feeling like the task is a bit less of a drudgery than you once did.

front view of The Bedroom Source showroom store

From the Bedroom Source blog:

The Bedroom Source

Located near the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island, The Bedroom Source is your source for the best collection of children's and teen bedroom furniture. From flexibly configurable Maxtrix furniture to fashionable Smartstuff collections, The Bedroom Source offers high end furniture and professional design assistance to create the bedroom of your child's dreams.

Contact the friendly staff at The Bedroom Source by calling (516) 248-0600 or by submitting our online contact form. We're a local family owned mom & pop store. When you shop with us, you're dealing directly with the owners. We professionally assemble everything we sell. We deliver to Nassau, Suffolk, the 5 Boroughs, Southern Westchester, Southwestern Connecticut & Northern New Jersey.

Image credits: Top by shwetz1307/morgueFile; 2nd by raymortim/morgueFile; 3rd by cohdra/morgueFile.

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