Sorting laundry is a boring task, but it is also be a great time to talk and catch up with your kids. It can also provide valuable learning experiences that don’t require anything but you, your kids, and some clean clothes. Okay, you need a ruler for the last one.
(Common Core Standards appear in italics. They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels. These standards are used in almost every school in the country. Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)
* Learn about textures by letting her touch different materials. Use adjectives like smooth, bumpy, soft, and fuzzy.
* Learn object permanence by playing peek-a-boo and hiding things under towels.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
* Sort clothing into piles according to color, type (socks, pants, shirts), or by person to which they belong. (Kindergarten- Classify object and count the number of objects in each category)
* Compare Mama’s socks to kid socks or Dada’s pants to kid pants. Talk about opposite words like big and small, large and tiny.
* Count the number of one type of clothing (Kindergarten- Count to tell the number of objects)
* Make two groups of socks and ask if the amount of socks is greater than, lesser than, or equal to the other group. (Kindergarten- Compare numbers)
* Use laundry to represent addition and subtraction problems. Ask your child to solve problems like, “There are 4 Daddy shirts and 2 Mommy shirts. How many shirts were in the laundry?” You can also have the student model a given problem (ex.- Show me 4+2 using socks.) (Grades 1 and 2- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction)
* Represent multiplication and division problems. This works very well with socks that already come in pairs (if your dryer didn’t eat any.) Explain that there are two socks in each group and five groups of socks, so that is 2×5. A good model for division is dividing the laundry by owner. It works best if you arrange for equal groups beforehand. For example, “There are 10 shirts. Let’s divide them into two groups- your shirts and my shirts. How many are in each group? So 10 divided into 2 groups makes 5 in each group.” (Grade 3- Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division)
* Practice fractions with parts of a group. What fraction of the laundry are pants? What fraction of the socks are white? (Grade 3- Develop understanding of fractions as numbers)
* Estimate the length of clothing and then measure. You’ll need a ruler or yard stick for this one. (Grade 2- Measure and estimate lengths in standard units)