Featured Resource: The humble washing basket!

August 31, 2020
Featured Resource: The humble washing basket!

Written by Senior Speech Pathologist Kate Down

Working from home and conducting sessions via telehealth has re-ignited my love for integrating unassuming objects around the home into dynamic and fun play. The humble washing basket has become a favourite. It’s uses and transformations are endless and flexible for so many ages and stages. Here are some ideas for using your washing basket in play: 

Making stews and potions: 

  • A washing basket (or something similar) is the perfect vessel for a pretend potion or stew. Reading a book like the classic ‘Wombat Stew’ (Marcia Vaughan) or books about witches making potions is a great place to start. These books can often be found on YouTube if you don’t have them at home. After reading through the book make the potion or stew yourself. You can extend the play by making a different type of stew, or a potion to turn something boring into something exciting! This is a great chance for object substitution. Don’t have a toad for your potion? Try substituting something to represent the toad. If your child is working on sharing their ideas or negotiating this can also be a great activity. 

Lucky Dip Box: 

  • Lucky dip boxes are great for working on speech sounds. Hide items that contain the target sound in the washing basket. A sheet could go over the top to cover them or you could close your eyes. Name the items or talk about them as you pull them out of the of basket.  

Making a car or tractor: 

  • This has been a favourite in my house. If you have a sturdy washing basket you can attach some paper plates to the side to make wheels, and a paper plate on the inside to make a steering wheel. Your child or their toys can hop in and pretend to go driving. Depending on the age and size of your child you could move them around in the basket. You could also attach another basket to the back with some ribbon to make a trailer for farm animals or maybe even a caravan to go camping. 

Making a boat: 

  • A washing basket also makes a great boat! This again lends itself to some great pretend play opportunities, including as a chance to play ‘Who Sank the Boat’ (Pamela Allen). Children who like movement may enjoy being rocked in the boat or spilling out of the boat. Rowing in the boat and singing along with ‘row, row, row your boat’ is another favourite.  

Doing Laundry: 

Of course just doing the laundry with your child gives the opportunity to model some lovely rich language. For example: 

  • Labelling different types of clothes 
  • Labelling different colours 
  • Location words: in, out, up, on 
  • Opposites: dirty, clean; full, empty; open, close 
  • Sequencing: first, next, last 
  • Possessives and Pronouns: Mummy’s shirt, my shirt, her shirt