My mission…to cultivate a learning environment in our home. My goal…to purposefully incorporate educational concepts in our various household tasks with my little ones. Thus we continue sharing learning ideas that can be purposefully practiced while completing various household activities. Don’t miss out on sharing ideas for learning in the kitchen.
In the Laundry Room
1. Sorting laundry – teach sorting laundry by colors and then by textures, enabling a child to strengthen color identification, matching, and strengthening the sensory skills. Follow this by teaching the basics of washing laundry specifying the different temperatures needed to wash various articles of clothing, towels, etc. Clothing can be sorted by type of clothing as well (socks, underwear, shirts, pants, etc).
2. Organize clothing by owner - teaches recognition of possession by sorting the clothes by owner before folding. Karis and I discuss who each item belongs to as we sort our laundry into the piles of clothing for each person before carrying them carefully to the dressers.
3. Store a child’s clothes within their reach – from a young age, a child can learn to sort and put away their clothing as well as getting themselves dressed. Label the drawers with pictures of the different kinds of clothes kept in them, with the word was well.
4. Count the clothes - an older child could try to guess the number of items in each pile and then count them to see whether she/he was correct.
5. Matching socks – We like to set aside the socks till we have folded all the rest of the clothes and then make a game out of finding the match.
In the Bedroom
1. Make the bed – Before Karis turned three years old, we aimed to teach her organization and cleanliness by having her learn to make her own bed when she wakes up. We make a game out of it and shake the corners out together before laying the blanket out smooth on the bed.
2. Organize possessions at his/her level - We also organize all her toys at her level in a 9 cube shelving unit and rain gutter bookshelves so she can accessibly put each item away before getting out another. She still needs a gentle reminder, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how fully capable she is to accomplish these little chores.
In the Hallway
Place a hook at the kids level so she/he can hang up their own jacket after an outing. Designate a special place for his/her shoes as well. This makes the task of preparing to depart or return home much simpler, especially if you have other little ones in tow.
In the Living Room
1. Clean together – It is easy to include your children in various housecleaning tasks by providing them with their own dusting or wash cloth and some safe cleaning spray, if desired. They can learn to carefully lift up various options to dust underneath them while learning the feel of different textures – china, glass, wood, and so on. Discuss whether they are warm or cold, where they came from, how they are made, etc.
2. Answer the phone - A young child can learn to answer the phone. I believe my mom taught us this skill as early as 6 years old. We had a special phrase to say, “Hello, you’ve reached the ____(last name). This is ____(child’s name). How can I help you?” It was written next to the phone so we could remember. Now in a day of cellphones, this will not be so easy, but I want to give them the opportunity of learning basic social skills, improving communicating skills in this way from an early age.
Kat adds some additional ideas:
Including your children in your various household tasks may require more time and effort on your part to teach and instruct them, and there very well may be a bigger mess afterward…but what is more important? Investing in your relationship and teaching valuable skills in the process or sending them away and getting the job done quicker while losing out on this important opportunity?
Make these learning activities enjoyable for all by making little songs out of these tasks. For example, we came up with this little rhyme for folding laundry together:”Now we’re going to fold the clothes, fold the clothes, fold the clothes, now we’re going to fold the clothes, so early in the morning” (sung to Row, Row, Row Your Boat), with variations such as “match the socks”, etc. It definitely makes the task more fun when you can sing while you work – and the child will learn to love music and work at the same time!
Stay tuned for our final post with ideas for the great outdoors!