How to use laundry to teach early math skills! [Throwing idea for toddlers]

Updated: Jan 15

Early math skills like matching, sorting, size concepts and one to one correspondence can be taught in fun meaningful ways that occur naturally throughout our day, even doing laundry!

Try out this Sock Sort activity as a way to include your children in helping with household chores, all while having fun and learning pre-k math skills.

Here’s how to get them matching, sorting and having fun with laundry!

  • Collect a basket for each family member (include size concepts i.e. “Let’s find a big basket for daddy because he has the biggest socks, and a little basket for baby because baby has tiny feet!”)

  • Label baskets with names of family members.

  • Gather socks from the laundry. Place them all together within reach of your child.

  • Invite them to help you match the socks, “Let’s match all these socks and then toss our matches in the baskets, watch me!” Model matching, folding. Your turn, Here is the baby's pink sock. Do you see one that is the same?” or “I found dada’s long white sock, where is the one that matches?”

  • Use descriptive language as you find and match socks, size words, color words, same/different.

  • Once you find a match, toss the socks into the correct basket.

  • Use phrases for encouragement such as, “You made a match! Which basket do these socks go in? Let’s throw them in!”

  • Feel free to get creative with how you move to put the sock in, “let's move like a sloth and put the sock in the basket”, or “how would a cheetah get the sock in the basket?”

  • Repeat until all the socks are in the baskets and deliver socks to drawers or baskets in each family member's room. This is a great time to be silly, i.e. pick up dada’s socks and say, “Okay here are baby’s socks, let's put them away!” Preschool age children get a real kick out of “mix ups!”

Sharing the household chores with your child gives you an opportunity to connect as you take care of your to-do list and provides your child a sense of belonging as they contribute to daily life in your household.

Want to use this with other parents, or at a child care center? Check out this activity sheet and lesson plan.

For more laundry fun check out this video, or our other blogs and activities.