Play On Words

How to spend quality time with your child while doing household chores

No Set up, Purchasing, Or Rummaging Of Supplies Needed

Overtime, we find ourselves working harder to work harder.

We also work hard to love better.

However, one thing has not changed. There is still only 24 hours in a day.

Many families we know, including our own, strive to reach financial goals and also reach to provided the most love, the best model, and the most memorable childhood to our children. With 2 working parents in typical 8-5, 5 days/week jobs, we are left with a 2-day weekend to expected to accomplish quite a bit. Some to mention are: clean the house, mow the lawn/shovel snow, cook meals, maybe even prep meals for the week, laundry, car maintenance, grocery shopping, scrub the bathroom, rest, and spend quality time with the spouse and children. Accomplishing all of these each weekend is almost impossible. And sadly, the usual case is we end up giving up the 2 most important items: recuperating and spending quality time with the family. Sometimes we think we are having that quality time with them but ENGAGEMENT IS ABSENT.

What if we get chores done while we are engaging with our family?


Maybe we do not have to schedule a family event every weekend. Maybe we do not have to spend $$ every weekend to take them to amusement parks, museums, ice cream shops, restaurants, or what-have-you. Maybe, just maybe, the things that we already do to keep our family clean, fed, organized can also be the things that keep our hearts warm and our relationships tight.

family speech therapy carson nv

Instead of simply going through the motions of our days and trying to get chores done, try to make them interactive. Be prepared to enjoy it too. Here are some engaging (and also educational) activities to do with your toddlers or preschoolers while getting stuff done:


Sort the clothes with your kids.

  • Ask them to GROUP all the socks, all the shirts, all the underwear, etc. together. You can also sort them by colors. What a great opportunity to teach colors!
  • If they are not interested, they do not have to sort them with you, but do ask where you should place each item.
  • They can direct and that also gives them an opportunity to be ‘the boss’ of you. Kids just love the chance to be the boss of their parents.
  • Ask what you USE each item for. For example, you could say, “Is this stinky sock for my head or my foot?”

Why do we like this activity?

It supports your child’s cognitive thinking by learning categories of clothings and function of objects (i.e. socks are for your feet not your hands, unless we have a puppet show planned for later today ;)) Categorizing items also categorizes concepts in our brain giving a more efficient procedure to think of how items, objects, words relate to each other.

laundry speech therapy reno nv


cook with mom speech therapy carson city

Talk about the kind of food you are handling. Tell your child what it is, what CATEGORY it belongs, then DESCRIBE it.

  • For example, “I’m cutting up this vegetable. It’s called an onion. It’s yellow, but some onions are purple or white. Smell it. What do you think? It smells horrible and it makes me cry (exaggerate your cry). But it makes our food taste so good”.
  • Maybe your child is snacking on strawberries while you’re chopping up that onion. In that case, have them DESCRIBE what they’re eating. 
  • Is it hard? Is it juicy? What color is it? Is it big? How is it different from an onion? Does is make you cry like an onion?

Why do we like this activity?

We love this activity because it allows them to expand their vocabulary language through descriptions. It also open their eyes in how things around us can be SIMILAR and/or DIFFERENT at the same time.

Getting dressed

You can treat this activity like the other activities as well.

  • Talk about what goes where and how the clothing items are different.
  • In addition, teach them sequencing and use key words like first, then, next, last. For example, “First put one leg through your shorts, then when your foot comes out (tickle that foot a little) you can put your other leg through the other hole. Now, hop on one leg with a monkey face.” (Remember to have fun!) “Last, we zip the zippers up and snap it closed.”

Why do we like this activity?

The task of sequencing is another cognitive process that we use all the time and is very important with many of our daily tasks (hand washing, cooking, playing on the slide, etc.). For the developing brain, it supports the STORY TELLING skills which goes way beyond just story telling but the ability to persuade and to be a very effective communicator.

speech therapy for children reno

Folding clothes

Laundry speech therapy reno nv

This is again a great chore to teach categories of clothes (shirts vs. sweaters, jeans vs pajamas, etc.).

  • Add some competitiveness in the task. Kids love to race or be the best at anything. Ask them “Who can make the best square or the best sushi roll (depending if your the folding- or rolling-clothes type) out of these shirts?”
  • Keep the competitiveness friendly though and make sure to APPRECIATE each of your child’s work.  

Why do we like this activity?

This task is highly cognitive. As discussed with other chores, it addresses categories, descriptions, and sequencing. At the same time, visual sequencing which may be harder for the littles.

Stay calm and let loose if they did not fold it your way. Have them fold their own clothes so that if it’s not perfect, you can let it go. When you do, this activity will not only benefit them cognitively, but also emotionally and mentally. This simple chore can build your child’s SELF-ESTEEM. He will gain so much pride in this simple task if he sees his work in his drawers everyday. I know my girls do. They now even have their own way to fold and even try to teach me how to do it right. 

Way to go self-esteem!


They do not have to complete the chore. Only encourage them to STAY WITH YOU and ask no participation in completing the chores. Simply encourage participation in your conversation. Before you know it, they will be asking to help you and actually have fun doing it. There’s an unplanned benefit, your child actually having fun and wanting to do chores. That’s unheard of!

This might take a few more minutes to finish your chore than if you do it alone. But where’s the fun in doing it alone? Keep in mind that the few minutes you will loose gains you a simple yet cherished experience with your child. By the time you are done with your chore, you have also spent some quality and engaging time with your child. (Talk about efficiency!) Perhaps you can now grab that book you have been itching to read for months and check recuperation off your checklist.

HAVE FUN doing it! Let your sillies out and sniff those stinky socks.

Schedule a Free Screening

To be proactive in every child’s development, we will provide free screening to children at preschools and day cares. A screening lets us know if a speech evaluation maybe needed to identify a child's communication strengths and needs.
Screenings are available in Reno, Sparks, Carson City.