Parenting Resource

5 Ways to Play…With a Laundry Basket

May 13, 2020

When your children play with you, they are also learning that they are loved and important and that they are fun to be around. And the best part? No new toys required.

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1) Put a pillow and blanket inside the laundry basket to make it a crib for a doll or stuffed animal. Offer props that might encourage your toddler to act out daily routines—think about items like a child-size cup, a toy bottle, a baby spoon, a washcloth, and more.

2) Put a laundry basket on one side of the room and have your child stand a few feet away and try to toss a foam ball into the basket. You can also put a basket on its side (like a soccer goal) and have your child aim and kick a beach ball into the basket.

3) Play “Where Is Teddy?” Get a stuffed animal and ask your child to place the teddy bear in different positions: “Where is Teddy? Can you put him…on top of the basket? Now can you put Teddy under the basket?” In addition to on top and under, try spatial words like in, next to, beside, behind, close to, or far away. Take turns and have your child tell you where to put the teddy bear.

4) Have a tea party or a picnic. Turn the laundry basket upside down and it becomes a table. Take out child-sized plates, cups, and a pitcher, and pour some (pretend) tea.

5) Get your laundry delivery going! After you fold clothes, put your toddler’s t-shirts in the laundry basket and ask them to push the basket to “deliver” the clothes to their room. Repeat for different family members. Not only does this help you out, it also gives your toddler a chance to move and burn some energy.

About Baby Steps

This article was featured in Baby Steps, a ZERO TO THREE newsletter for parents and caregivers. Each issue offers science-based information on a topic of interest to parents and caregivers of young children—from sleep to challenging behaviors, and everything in between.

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