Sensory: Washing Dishes

Updated: Apr 13

At school, it never fails to surprise parents just how independent their children can be at school. The key reason for this is that educators know that giving children opportunities to feel competent in routinized tasks in the very early years, sets the stage for a motivated and independent learner. Besides giving children a sense that they are doing “big boy and girl ” work, participating in the everyday necessities of life affords rich sensory experiences to develop new motor skills and coordination. Here is an everyday chore that they will find rewarding, fun and helps them with their fine motor development.

Infants and Toddlers

Activity: Washing Dishes For Developing Fine Motor Skills

Ms. Laura, Ms. Haley and Ms. Adia in Infant 1 have found that having their babies wash dishes is a favorite pastime for their students. This activity can also be modified for older children who will also relish the idea of doing grown up work. As children wash the dishes they are supporting their fine motor development as they use muscle power to pick up and wash the items.

What you need:

Large bin

A bit of water mixed with soap suds


The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes by Phyllis Krasilovsky

What to do

After lunch put a large container on some towels. Pour a small quantity of water into the container and add a few drops of soap studs

Before introducing the materials to your child, share the humours book by Phyllis Krasilovsky

Then have your child get to work!

Preschool Extension

For toddlers and preschoolers, have them stand on a stool that reaches the sink or use the bathtub as the dishwashing site and have them wash the dishes in the sink. Preschoolers might also want to help you dry the dishes and put them away.