at home ideas
As mundane and uninspiring as it seems, folding laundry can set the stage for rich, playful, and engaging interactions with your baby. A few ideas for putting learning into the laundry follow:
- Sock basketball: roll pairs of socks together. Hand one pair to your baby; model dropping another pair into the basket. Describe the action (be dramatic! Use sound effects! “Red socks going into the basket!!!!). Encourage your baby to drop her socks in too. Play ball! This game helps exercise motor skills, introduce relational concepts such as “in, out, next to, above, under,” as well as the important social skill of taking turns.
- Big Ideas: the laundry is filled with items of differing sizes. Describe them: “Here’s Daddy’s big tee shirt…here’s your little tee shirt, etc.” Try a little peek-a-boo, too. Start by holding a piece of laundry in front of your face. As a peek-a-boo variation, fold the item smaller and smaller, (“it’s getting smaller…”) revealing yourself when the item is folded. There’s a lot of language in the laundry, too. Just describe what you see.
- Towel Tug-o-war: Give your baby one end of a towel (or other article). Hold onto the other and gently pull. Exaggerate your motions. Be silly.
It might take a few tries before your baby understands the game. Whether your version becomes a traditional “tug-o-war” or just a playful hold and let go, your baby wil be delighted by this simple cause and effect game.
- Feelings: Help your baby to feel all of the different textures of the items in the basket. Describe them. Rub items on your baby’s hand or cheek.
This simple exploration of textures gives your baby a chance to practice comparison skills in the context of the rich language you use to describe the various “fuzzy, smooth, silky, bumpy, rough….” items in your basket or in the pile of freshly laundered items in which your baby is exploring