Saturday, February 4, 2012

Never Too Early To Learn: Washing Clothes

Living in Australia should mean that we enjoy glorious sunshiney summers, but for us Aussies living in Melbourne it actually means that the weather runs the full gamut each and every day. So it was some surprise that we enjoyed a full week of ridiculously gorgeous weather last week. Time to go outside!

Like many of her tot peers, Miss Eden (3) likes to mimic everything I do, and LOVES helping me around the house. So, I thought she may enjoy doing the laundry for her dollies whilst I did the real deal.
I set up a line for her (ie, some wool strung between two stools), and a tub with soapy water in it, and a scrubbing board which was actually the lid of a storage container ("just like in Little Mermaid, Mummy!"). Add a pole to pound and push the clothes around the tub with, and a load of her doll's little clothes and we were ready to go!

Eden pounded the clothes with the pole (when she wasn't strolling around the deck pretending it was her 'pirate leg'), rubbed them clothes against the scrubbing board to get them nice and clean, and hung them out to dry. Once they were dry, she took them off the line all by herself, and .... washed and hung them out again. As you do. It was really lovely to see her enjoying this so much that she wanted to keep repeating the process. She was at it for at least an hour and a half, and I only brought her inside because it was getting so hot outside!

I'm hoping for another run of hot weather so we can do this outside again. Miss E. regularly helps me hang out my washing, but it does take a lot (a lot!) longer to have her helping me than to do it by myself, and I can't always afford the time. This was a great set up not least because it allowed Eden to go at her own pace and hang things up her own way.

We used dolly pegs for this activity, but Eden has done similar things in the past with normal wooden pegs that open and close, and wanted to try something new. However, if you're giving this a whirl and your tot hasn't used pegs before, I'd recommend the ones that open and close. Those pegs help your child to develop the pincer grip, which is needed for future writing skills (pencil control).
For a young toddler (around 18 months) I would probably first introduce the classic Montessori activity of putting pegs on the sides of a container and taking them off again. Doing so teaches young tots control and concentration, and is a great precursor to activities like this one.
Best of luck, and thanks for reading! ~ L.


  1. How fun!! I know my 3-year-old is always trying to help with everything. What a great idea. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! We hope you will join us again this week!

  2. Great idea to let kids gain independence! Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

  3. Just a quick THANK YOU for linking up last week with Thrifty Thursday, and I hope to see you again this week! My daughter has enjoyed helping me hang our diapers outside, I bet she would love to help with other tasks! Great idea!

  4. Glad to hear from you again. I enjoyed reading your story.

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