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Turning Laundry into Learning

MR. POTATO HEAD'S LAUNDRY DAY

HOW TO PLAY...
As you're folding the laundry, choose articles of clothing from the basket and encourage your child to identify each item (e.g., socks, shirts, pants, underwear, etc.). Talk about how we wear the different items. We wear socks on our feet. We wear shirts on our backs, etc. This establishes the concept of "order" for your child. 

Now, like Mr. Potato Head, let's mix it up and play with the concept of "disorder." Only in this game, your child is Mr. Potato Head!

Start by wondering out loud what it would be like to wear your socks on your ears. Coax your child to try wearing her socks on her ears. And put socks on your own ears too. Oh, how silly! And the fun has begun.

Your child may take it from there, but if not, suggest a few other mix ups to give her the idea. For instance, I wonder what it would be like to wear your pants on your arms? Or your underwear as socks? Or see what it's like if you climb into dad's shirt together! In other words, the sillier the better!

WHAT THEY'RE LEARNING...

What we just described is a game involving patterns, sequences, order and disorder, all essential underpinnings to problem solving, creativity, and mathematics. That might sound a bit heady or academic, but in fact, children are naturally introduced to these concepts through everyday, physical experiences and play.

For instance, early on babies adapt to daily routines which give them a sense of security and belonging through the predictable order of life. Toddlers eventually figure out that it's better to put the big block on the bottom in order to support the smaller blocks on top. With enough repetition, preschoolers they learn that "A" comes before "B." And of course, we all inevitably arrive at the conclusion that socks come before shoes.

Further, dressing the "wrong" way actually instills a sense of pride and confidence that they're "in the know." They know the right way to dress!

And in the process, you might even get the laundry done.

Have fun. And keep moving!

 

 

P.S. When we asked friends and family to snap some photos of this game for us, even the older kids wanted to join in and had fun with it!