How To Teach: Laundry Skills

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers teacher experience transition Nov 29, 2021
Importance of Doing Laundry
Washing, drying, and hanging clothes is a mundane chore that will truly never end. Students can greatly increase their self confidence by learning how to sort clothes, start the washer, flip clothes, unload the dryer, and fold and hang. Laundry also incorporates other skills, like time management and measuring, so it’s truly a multi-skill set chore!
-Supplies needed for laundry
-When and how to use each supply and tool
-How to manage switching laundry from the washer to the dryer
-How to sort clothes
-When to do laundry
-How to fold
-How to hang
Why Focus On These Skills
Laundry is a weekly, if not daily, occurrence in all homes, regardless of whether the washer and dryer is in the home or at a nearby laundromat. Therefore, equipping students with the skills to contribute to their family’s chores or take care of their own laundry is a step forward for independent living.
When To Teach
Laundry is a skill that you can address at any point in the school year. If you can have clothing, such as a vocational/work polo they have to wear when they work, as the laundry that ACTUALLY needs to be laundered then the lesson will have greater meaning.
Tip: Encourage families to have the student practice this skill at home!
I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!
Students will set washer and dryer machines, complete actions to starting washer and dryer (lint, dryer sheet, detergent), fold and hang shirts, pants, and towels.
Lesson Vocabulary
Basket, detergent, dryer, dryer sheet, fold, hang, hanger, timer, washer
  • Pre and Post assessment
  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)
  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills
  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)
  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment
  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)
  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)
  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)
  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics
  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement
  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills
  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting
  • Word search of key vocabulary terms
  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics
Ultimate Goal
ALL students can contribute to laundry, just find the skill that is most appropriate for them. Do they measure the detergent and press start? Do they put the laundry in and set the buttons? Do they sort the laundry by color and hang and fold after it has been cleaned? Or, can they learn to do all the steps?
Link to Curriculum

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