Friday, August 5, 2011

Make laundry a valuable educational experience.

As promised in my "Family Fold Out" post on "How to get your family to help with laundry," here are some ideas on how to teach academic subjects to your children while doing the laundry.  

Sorting:  Sort clothes by:  owner, color, size, or type.
Matching and Measuring:  Find sock pairs according to length and color.
Patterns:  Place socks in a pattern such as long, short, medium, and have your child continue the pattern.
Computations:  Count the number of shirts.  Count the number of socks and divide to find out how many pairs they will make.  Invent story problems like:  If dad wore two pairs of socks each day for four days how many individual socks will he have worn?
Estimate:  Try to estimate how many pieces of clothing are in an average load of laundry.  Count them and keep a chart, then graph your results.
Time:  What time did you start folding clothes?  What time did you finish?  How long did it take?

Language Arts:
Phonics:  Identify beginning, ending, and middle sounds of clothes.  Sock starts with "S."  What does it end with?  What letter is in the middle?
Rhyme:  Think of real or made up words that rhyme with the clothes you are folding.  Skirt, shirt, Bert, dirt, hurt...
Synonyms:  Say different names for the same article of clothing as you fold them.  For example: shirt, top, blouse, sweater, etc.  Grab a thesaurus and learn new words.
Tell a story:  Make up a story about how Mr. Sock found Mrs. Sock.  Don't forget to include other characters in the plot such as the sweater monster, the pants tunnel, or the towel storm.  Introduce the terminology for the elements of a story.

Colors:  Identify and match the colors of the clothes.  Arrange them in shades from dark to light.
Aesthetics and Criticism:  If there are pictures or patterns on the clothes have your children describe whether or not they like it and why.  (this is third grade benchmark)
Fashion:  Talk about the fashions of the day and tell your kids about how fashion has changed in your life time and over the years.

Chemistry:  Teach the difference between solvents, surfactants, and enzymes and their roles in getting rid of stains.
Acids and Bases:  Wool is acidic and cotton is a base.  Here is a great site that explains this:  "Why you can't bleach sheep."
Experiment:  Perform some "Scientific Home Making" experiments using the scientific method and share the results in the comments of this post.

-Talk about how people and cultures did laundry over different historical time periods. Here is a great resource for this:  "History of Washing." 
-Find out who invented the washing machine and dryer and when?

Foreign Language:
Teach the names of the articles of clothing in a different language as you fold them.

There are so many ways to use everyday activities as teaching tools.  Please comment and share your ideas to add to this list.  If you found this helpful or interesting let me know and become a follower or sign up to follow by e-mail.  Thanks, Tennille

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