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Purposeful Play for Every Day: Laundry Basket Edition

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BY EMILY GORACKE, PT

Here’s one idea to help support your infant or toddler’s development using an object commonly found in your home.

Laundry baskets can be used for more than housing heaps of clothes. Grab a basket and your little one as we review ways that you can use it to engage in play and support your child’s gross motor development.

Tummy time: Pull fabrics through the openings and hook items along the top to make the laundry basket a go-to for tummy time entertainment.

Supported sitting: Place a child who is working on the skill of independent sitting inside the basket, along with some favorite toys. Ensure that the basic is stable and provide direct supervision. The basket provides posterior and lateral support for them to work on balance, protective reactions, and sitting for longer durations with minimal assistance (please note that the infant in this image is not quite ready to work on this skill).

Tall kneeling: Work on trunk and glut strengthening by tall kneeling at the basket for a support surface and activity table. Have the child play with a toy that promotes reaching up for improved trunk posture.  

Weighted pull toy: Fill the basket with items to add weight, and attach a string to allow the child who has achieved the skill of independent forward walking to pull the basket. This activity is great for sensory heavy work, balance, and strengthening different muscles through backward walking.

Walking obstacles: Utilize the laundry basket as part of an obstacle course. This obstacle challenges a child’s balance as they step in and out of the basket.