Our “theme” for this week is doing chores with our kids, what ways can we use chores and reoccurring daily events to teach our children educational concepts (math, verbal skills, reasoning, etc.) as well as instill in our kids a sense of value for work and appreciation of effort. I love how excited my kids are to contribute to our family. Now I only wish I were more willing to take the time and let them help me more often!
Here are some ways we have used washing the dishes as a “teachable” moment with our kids:
- Have discussions of bigger and smaller – Which plate is bigger? Can you find the smallest spoon? Which stack of cups is the tallest?
- Practice sorting items that have similarities into groups. Discuss exceptions. Example: We keep all of our forks in one location, except for our large serving forks.
- Explore Space, Child Care Aware, advises kids to “see and explore how shapes and things fit together”. For us, this means stacking plates and bowls in the most compact way so they can “fit” into the cupboards and spooning our spoons so they fit into the silverware tray.
- Dish washing is a great way to incorporate math vocabulary into your day: Are the cups on the top or the bottom? What dish is the lightest? The heaviest? Is this dish wetter or drier than “that” one? Can you find the dish that can hold the most? How many circles can you find? Squares? Cubes? Cylinders? Rectangles?
- Practice basic counting and arithmetic. How many plates are in the dishwasher? Put some away and re-count. What happened to the amount of dishes in the dishwasher when we put some away? I was amazed that my three year old has begun to understand the concept of subtraction from playing with dishes.
- Responsibility and safety. This is probably one of the most important lessons kids can learn while doing the dishes. We talk about how knives are dangerous and how to call mom (me) when we break a dish so I can supervise the clean up. We also discuss how when we make a mess (spill water from a dish that got flipped, or spill the silverware during “putting it away”) we need to clean it up.
Do you have any tips on how to include kids into doing chores? Have you blogged about chores in your household? I’d love to read about your kids successes and hear what chores they participate do in your home. Submit your story to our blog carnival. I’ll feature my favorites sometime next week!