We have written a number of post in this series. The idea is to show you how to work on your speech and language targets during everyday activities. This can be really useful when you are trying to help new skills generalise and also to provide extra repetition. You can read our posts on trips to the park, trips to the beach, meal times and bath times. Today I will talk about laundry.
Now when I talk about cleaning and laundry, I don’t mean enforced child labour or letting your 18 month old loose with a carving knife! Make sure you pick jobs that are appropriate for your child to complete. What I am trying to highlight is that even if you complete the task, you can encourage your child to watch and use the opportunity to target particular skills at the same time. Plus hopefully reinforce some useful life skills! For this post I’m going to concentrate on doing the laundry but you can apply many of the same ideas for other household cleaning.
Vocabulary – To support understanding of words, you could ask your child to put in a ‘sock’ or ‘t-shirt’ and see if they can select the correct item. To support use of words you can name each item as you put it in the washing machine and encourage them to try as well.
Colour. Again you can support both understanding and use of colour names with the items of clothes.
Concepts – Clean vs dirty, dry vs wet. This is a great hands on opportunity to experience the concepts and see the changes.
In vs out – Loading and unloading a washing machine provides lots of opportunities for saying in and out!
Adjectives – Talk about how the clothes feel – are they smooth or bumpy, heavy or light?
Comparisons – Who has got the smallest socks? Who has got the longest trousers? Again you can actually compare the items of clothing and make this a hands on activity to help the language concept.
Same – different – You could compare different items of clothing and try and find something the same about them and something different about them. For example jumpers and cardigans – they are the same as they keep you warm, but cardigans have buttons and open and jumpers don’t.
Semantic categories – You could also divide cloths into different categories or groups first. For example all the clothes that come in pairs or all the clothes with sleeves.
Speech – If you are working on a particular sound, try and find items of clothing with that sound in. Then you can encourage your child to say the word with the target sound.
Forming a hypothesis – For older children you can talk about why cotton can be washed at a higher temperature than wool. What the effect of heat is on different materials. You could make a hypothesis and then test it on some old clothes!
Do you have any other ways to use everyday cleaning to help support speech and language development?