Do you ever feel like you are constantly washing clothes? Well, that's because you probably are. Doing laundry is a daunting task for most parents, but it can be a chore that teaches a number of mathematical concepts for young children. When children participate with laundry, they learn how to sort:
Sort clothes into color piles. It helps them to understand that things are alike and different; things can be organized by certain groups. They can sort clothes by color, mom’s clothes, dad’s clothes, or however you choose to sort.
Children can match socks to make a pair. This teaches children that pairs come in sets of two.
After children have sorted the clothes into piles, a great question would be, “Which pile has more?” The child will quickly assess the piles and make a decision based on the amount in each. Children will spend time learning about more or less in preschool, so why not get them started at home? You can also ask which pile is bigger or smaller.
As your child pours laundry detergent into the cap, the development of eye-hand coordination and measurement are happening right before your very eyes.
Counting and One-to-One Correspondence
There is a lot of counting in doing laundry. Children can count the clothes aloud as they put each piece into the washing machine. It helps to reinforce the count sequence. Counting aloud provides an opportunity for parents to hear if any errors are made and can quickly be corrected. With continued practice, children eventually begin to count to higher numbers with guidance. As children are counting, be sure to make note if their verbal count matches with the number of clothing they have set aside. For example, if the child has set aside 3 pieces of clothes, the last number said should be 3.
Folding clothes is the HARDEST part of doing laundry. You can set aside a few pieces for your child to fold. Let’s say, your child has to fold a washcloth, you can say, “Can you fold this in half?”. That is teaching fractions. Now, I know you’re probably wondering how does a preschooler understand the concept of fractions. Well, you wouldn’t necessarily do a lesson on fractions, but using fraction language is a start. Fold a washcloth to show your child what you mean by folding in half. With continued exposure, children begin to make sense of the concept, which prepares them for future years ahead when fractions will be part of their curriculum.
You can encourage children to draw and write about the steps of how to do laundry. That teaches sequence--first, next, then, and last. Children learn to recognize letters on the laundry bottles. Children can copy the letters they see on the laundry bottles or to go a step further depending on the child’s age, they can spell phonetically.
Check out these books to help with the above concepts:
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Hi, I am Odessa. I'm a mom of two wonderful children and a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Science in Childhood Education with over 10 years of PreK and Kindergarten experience. I am a lover of all things literacy for children and their curiosity of the world. Get comfy and click around my site. I hope you find something you'll like, and something your kids will love! P.S. Akwaaba means 'welcome' :)
Subscribe to get our latest content by email and a FREE reading comprehension guide that supports you BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER you read a book. It also includes an assessment checklist.