Play With Me: Purposeful Work [Part 2]

By: Shannon Mallery, Mature Adults Master Program Specialist

We're continuing our Play With Me: Purposeful Series and the next activity will be Scrubbing. If you haven't read our previous blog post featuring Part 1 of this series, make sure to take a look back before continuing with these activities. We have also prepared a document of Tips for Virtual Communication that you can review, specifically related to this Play With Me series. If you need assistance or have any questions, please contact Shannon Mallery at Shannon.Mallery@DurhamNC.Gov.

Scrubbing Activity

Please note there is a possibility that the child may spill water in this activity so it is best to be done where that will not be a problem, maybe outside on the porch or on the counter with a large towel near by. It might even be a good idea to cover the computer keyboard with plastic and a towel. 

Please note there is a possibility that water may spill during this activity. It might even be a good idea to cover the computer keyboard with plastic and a towel.

  • Find a place to work that can get a little wet. 
  • Get a large (preferably) unbreakable bowl filled a third of the way with room temperature water. 
  • You will also need a towel, bar of soap, scrub brush and an item to be washed; either a large potato for younger children or a rock for older children. 
  • It is better if the item to be scrubbed has a little dirt on it that can actually be scrubbed off.
  • Tell your child that you will be scrubbing and explain that scrubbing is washing with a brush to clean something, like brushing your teeth. 
  • Start by showing the items you will use to your child. For younger children you can tell them what each item is used for. Older children will appreciate telling you what each item is used for. 
  • Rub the soap between your hands a few times in the bowl of water.
  • Now wash the potato/rock in the water first by rubbing with your hands and then by scrubbing it with the brush and a little soapy water. 
  • Make sure to show the child what you are doing. A clear bowl works best.
  • Once you are done place the clean item on the towel.
Let's Play
  • Do the activity first so that the child can see what you are doing.
  • Once you have finished ask the child to do what you did.
  • Once you are both done you can talk with the child about the activity. Ask them:
               o How did the water feel, was it warm or cool?
               o How did the soap feel, was it smooth or slimy?
               o Ask them about the brush, were the bristles pointy or soft? 
               o Ask them how they felt about cleaning the object, did it make them happy to accomplish their work?
               o Did they find it hard to hold the object and not spill the water.

Make it easier!
For an easier version of this activity your child can do a mix of rubbing the item clean with their hands and scrubbing it with the brush. They can also just scrub their own hands and nails.

Up for a challenge?
For a more challenging version of this activity you can have the child place several different items in the bowl, such as plastic animals or different sliced veggies. Make the water cloudy with soap and have the child close their eyes. While their eyes are closed have them pick an object out of the water and try to guess what it is. If they guess correctly they can scrub it and put it on the towel. The game is done when once all of the items have been scrubbed.

Scrubbing is always a favorite because it allows children play with water and do something useful! They will be very proud and satisfied when they are done.

Thanks for participating and we hope you are able to have meaningful virtual conversations with the loved ones in your life. Stay tuned for another blog post next week that continues the Play With Me: Purposeful Work series!