Laundry. A part of life that you cannot escape. My oldest started helping me “fold” laundry when he was about 11 months. I use the word “fold” very lightly since he usually just threw the clothes out of the laundry basket. We always had fun, though. He now helps me fold, and, for a kid his age, he doesn’t fold that badly. (I sometimes refold the stuff when he isn’t looking, but that is just for my peace of mind.) My little one is now at the stage where he takes everything out of the basket. He has started to put articles of clothing into the drawers, which lets me know he is understanding the process. (I usually take them out and fold them nicely. Again, for my peace of mind.)
Here are some fun ways you can make folding laundry fun and educational at the same time!
- Finding sock pairs
We would always play this when my son was about 18 months and up. I would lay out the socks and we would find the matching pairs. This was easier with my socks, as well as the kids socks, since they have patterns. My husband’s socks I would pair up since his are mainly one color and then, as my oldest was about two, he would help me with them.
- Reviewing colors
For both boys, when they were very little, I would say the color of the piece of clothing I was holding. For example, I would say “This is a yellow shirt”. I would do this for every piece of clothing in the basket. As my oldest got bigger, I would ask him what color the clothing was as I folded it. As he learned his colors I would ask him to take out a piece of clothing that matched the color I said. If I asked for something that was red, he would take it out. I sometimes made it more specific by asking for a green sock or a black shirt.
- Making up stories
This started when I put a sock on each hand and made up a silly story. My oldest then took a pair of pants and slipped it on his arms and made up a silly story (most times his stories are about poop. I guess that is normal for a little guy?). It is interesting to hear their stories and can be quite funny. This is also a great tool for language practice.
- Playing dress up
This one really doesn’t need an explanation. Little kids love wearing oversized adult clothes. It is a fun game of imagination and also evokes lots of laughter.
- Sock Basketball
After all of the socks have been matched together, and all of the laundry is folded and put away, we like to take the balls of socks and throw them into the laundry basketball for a fun game of Sock Basketball.
- Finding patterns
We haven’t done this yet but you could make patterns with the clothes. You can take one thing that is red, one that is blue, and one that is yellow and lay them out in that order. Then ask your little one what the pattern is and then have them continue the pattern by finding articles of clothing that have those colors. The possibilities with this is endless.
- Making shapes
You can have your little ones take clothing and rearrange it into a shape that you say. Or they can create a shape of their choice.
- Addition and Subtraction
These can sometimes be hard concepts when they are first introduced. Start out small. Lay out three pieces of clothing. Take one away. Ask how many are left. You can also lay out a pile of two pieces of clothing and then a pile of three pieces of clothing. Ask how many there are altogether. Using math vocabulary is a bonus as well!
This can be for the older kids (they should definitely be helping with folding laundry!). You can lay out four blue pieces of clothing. When you take one away have them count it. If the whole was 4, how many are left? There would be three out of four, or 3/4s. Again, there is so much you can do with this.
- Getting them Ready for Life
Laundry is something they will also have to do. By letting your little ones help you with this now, and making it into a game, hopefully, they won’t hate doing it as they get older. If they do, well, ain’t that too bad ;).
Here are some sites I came across that have some great ideas as well!
How do you make folding laundry fun? Comment below! We would love to hear :).
Mrs. Z is a stay at home mommy to two wonderful boys and wife to an amazing husband. Spending time with her family, writing, and enjoying life are some of Mrs. Z’s favorite pastimes. You can follow her on her journey on Facebook and Pinterest.