Thursday, January 7, 2010

The wonderful sponge!

Since my last post dealt with waterwork, I wanted to add some information about teaching toddlers (and beyond) how to clean up for themselves.

Supplies I recommend:
-plain, cheap sponges--just the plain kind, no texture or scrubby stuff on it. Cut these in half to make small, child-hand sized sponges.
-a small dish, bucket or bowl that will fit the sponge and a hand
-a small basket of washcloths or towels cut to washcloth size....old ones are great!

Designate a child-accessible place for these to be kept. Not on the counter, but rather somewhere your child can get to them on their own.

Every day moisten the sponge and place it in the bucket.

As your child spills, eats, and does art, show them how to use the sponge to clean up. Sponges are so much better for cleaning small messes because they are super absorbant, fit in the child's hand, and don't drag around the liquid like towels....also earth friendlier-than paper towels!

The washcloths are used to sop up BIG spills or to dry off tables or other areas after cleaning. Remind child that sponges aren't used on the floor--you may want to teach them that is the one place we use papertowels to keep from spreading yucky germs and dirt from our feet.

You can teach your child how to wipe up a table, how to squeeze excess water out of the sponge, how to sop up spills, and how to dry off a table. Toddlers naturally LOVE cleaning with sponges and towels, so they usually take to it very quickly!

For older children who have mastered the sponge and towel, I add in a small spray bottle and teach them how to "lightly mist" their work area and then wipe it down.

I will post some tablework involving sponges in the near future!!
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