Did you ever imagine that big pile of dirty laundry was an incredible language opportunity for your child? It’s one of the best, natural ways to teach opposites (in/out, on/off, open/shut, empty/full, wet/dry, clean/dirty, short/long, big/small, hot/cold). Babies will love to hear you talk about the process using short phrases, even singing a song (“Put the clothes in.
They are dirty. Turn the w...ater on. Add some soap”). Keep singing that song until all of the laundry is in. For a young one that is walking (even an early walker), your child can be the one that takes the laundry “out” of the dryer. As you fold it, your child can bring you a piece, go back and get another piece, and will most likely love to do this until the dryer is
empty (you may want to push something up against the dryer door to keep it open). For a child 18 months or older, they can be the one that gives you the clothes to put in the washer, they can push the laundry basket to the spot, and they can carry bigger amounts using their arms. They will love to look in the washer as you add the soap, turn on the water, and close the lid. As you model the words, you might even hear them say the words after you (“soap in” “wet clothes” “clothes out” “water on”). Your preschooler can sort the clothes by size (big, medium, and small) or by length (short/long), by colors (whites or colors), and even by clothing type (towels in one pile, jeans in another, baby clothes in a different pile). You can even count the piles when you are done. A household task is complete and your child increased their understanding and use of language.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist
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