My kitchen activity this week (while cooking dinners and unpacking lunch boxes) has been Washing Dolls. My little charges took turns (reluctantly) at washing their doll in a large bowl of warm water, bubbles from the washing up detergent and a face washer. We all wore aprons and had a tea towel to dry our baby off when we finished up. It was a long bath for those babies.
I have been setting this activity up for years in childcare centres and also as a nanny, I use it as an activity for occasions like the one above – cooking in the kitchen as well as to foster the child’s development.
An example of this was when I was looking after a child who did not like bath time at all and was quite fearful of the water tap. Among other techniques I used to put her at ease leading up to and during this time, was Washing Dolls. I would set up the activity in the bathroom and play out the role of ‘washing the baby’ so she could see bath time as a soothing experience.
Washing Dolls is a good activity for:
- Exploring their own abilities
- Growing their independence
- Developing their imagination
- Showing empathy
Another idea is to set up washing dolls outside and include a makeshift clothes line to dry the baby’s clothes and face washer. Continue the activity by adding in dressing the baby, nappy changing, feeding the baby and taking it for a walk to the shops (around the house). I found this experience good for introducing a new brother or sister to the immediate family.
The benefits of doing this activity with 5 year olds in my case, is that they can practically set up the activity themselves!
Happy Doll Washing!