Looking into ways to strengthen fine motor skills, the word 'clothespins' pops up again and again. So I picked up a package at the dollar store and decided we would "wash clothes." I set everything up ahead of time: bucket of water, a nearly-empty-but-not-quite bottle of laundry detergent, some doll clothes, rags and even a stray sock, and of course the clothespins. All that was left was to hang a rope for the clothesline.
"What's this?" Kay wondered aloud as she walked into the backyard. I told her we were going to wash clothes and showed her how people used to wash clothes "before they had washing machines." We added some water to the detergent bottle and she sloshed it around before pouring it into the bucket, which didn't make as many bubbles as I thought (I suspect someone rinsed it already!) so I found an old shampoo bottle that still had a little shampoo left at the bottom, and that she poured in, making fun soapy bubbles. (Notice we have a lot of almost-empty bottles of things? lol).
After washing her baby's shirt in the bucket of water I reminded her to squeeze it out before she hung it up (more fine motor skills in use!). She got annoyed when she couldn't easily hang up the clothes (holding it and clipping it on was more than she could manage) so I helped her by holding the clothing while she did the clipping.
But her creative little mind soon came up with a better way. She just hung the articles of clothing over the rope instead - no need for clothespins! I couldn't argue with her logic - the items were still on the rope, would still get dried. But she wasn't done. Her next idea was to hang them on the line before she washed them, and just pour the soapy water over them. I love how that mind works!
In the end she played with the clothespins by clipping them on the rope just for fun, so she got to 'wash' the clothes in her own unique way and she worked on fine motor skills, too. A win-win!