Laundry Basket Bonanza!

The snow was great for the first few storms. My kids were playing outside almost all day. In fact, they played outside so much that their ski pants and gloves are wearing out. Unfortunately the stores are no longer stocking winter items…but I guess that’s a good thing…it’s a sure sign that spring is on the way. I am really counting on that groundhog’s forecast this year. In the meantime, amidst all this ice, it’s time to get creative.
How do I get creative when it seems all I do is laundry? Let the laundry baskets inspire you and your child!
– Create a pirate ship or sailboat: Tape a wrapping paper tube to the side of a laundry basket. Tape a paper triangle to the top of the wrapping paper tube. Ahoy Mates! Ready to set sail! Use another wrapping paper tube for an oar and bring along your favorite stuffed animal. Is that rug a deserted island in the distance? Make paper towel tube binoculars to investigate.-Run her own zoo, pet store or animal shelter: Flip some laundry baskets over to become instant cages for stuffed animals. Your child can care for the animals, feed them, take them out for exercise, and can tell you about each animal when you come visit the zoo. Be sure to ask lots of questions. She may need to rearrange a few cages if the dogs are too close to the cats!Creative play stimulates your child’s imagination, helping to develop the ability to adapt, solve problems, and discover his world. During play your child can practice risk-taking, trial and error, and social and language skills, all in the safe environment of your home, which helps him prepare for future learning.

Need something more physical (and want to sneak in some math)? Try shooting baskets: Place several laundry baskets in a line and label each with a point value. Make a starting line a few feet before the first basket. Toss beanbags, balls, balled-up socks, or butterflies (made by sticking a square scrap of colored tissue paper into a clothespin) into the baskets, keeping track of your points. Depending on his age, your child can learn to recognize numbers, write the numbers, or compare who got more or less points. Older kids can practice their math facts: throw 3 butterflies and add up your points, keep playing until you get to 50 points, or start at 50 and subtract your score until you get to 0. If your child needs a challenge, have a designated number to try to reach exactly by adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing your points on each turn until you reach the designated number.

Now who said laundry isn’t fun?

Michelle Van Vorhis,

Museum Educator

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