What about scrubbing a table? Children love to mimic us, and they see us cleaning and scrubbing all the time. So, why not offer a toddler a real life activity, where he gets to exercise his gross-motor muscles, and where the activity is meaningful, practical and fun (kids love water and bubbles!) While Adrian has been washing a table since about one year old; now, his moves are more precise, more directed, more purposeful.
The prepared environment for this activity would include: a plastic container, pitcher for water, soap in a dish, scrub brush, sponge, towel for drying, and 2 containers: one to fill with clean water and one to dump dirty water once done.
As with any water activity, a child should be offered an apron. Adrian is using this terry cloth apron set, which can be put on independently by a toddler: no fastening, tying, buttoning.
Step 1: SCRUBBING
You will need a clean water source to wet a scrub-brush and rub the brush directly on the soap (the more soap you get on the brush, the more bubbles you will make); then scrub-scrub-scrub …
scrub the table in a circular motion
Step 2: SPONGING
Wipe the bubbles off using a sponge: from top to bottom // left to right, rinsing the sponge in between to get all the soap out;
sponging off bubbles: from TOP –
- to BOTTOM
Step 3: DRYING
Dry the table with a towel;
Adrian actually completed the entire cycle of activity (scrubbing, sponging, drying) 4 times! since every time, while wiping the table dry with a towel, he would notice little specs of pencil marks he had missed, and he will start all over again 🙂
Step 4: CLEAN UP
Put away the activity (empty the dirty water, wipe clean and dry each item used).
The result: I had twenty minutes to do some household chores, while the toddler got to practice his gross-motor skills, and the activity was:
- purposeful: he could see the result of his effort – a clean table;
- he felt useful – helping with a real life activity;
- and the process fostered his focus, concentration and attention to details …
But most importantly, it was fun!