“Through practical exercises…the children develop a true “social feeling,” for they are working in the environment of the community in which they live, without concerning themselves as to whether it is for their own, or for the common good.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Always grateful for the sharing of ideas, an Instagram post @monti.day.by.day inspired our dog figurine washing activity. When interested in their care, I offer our young friends and family opportunities to help care for our family dog. They can feed her, fill her water bowl and help to walk her on her leash. Before long, they might even be interested in bathing her too! 😉💦 In the meantime, this dog washing activity will offer fun hands-on washing experience, play and practice.

Dog Figurine Washing Materials (shown in the photo):

Waterproof mat
3 Matching glass dishes
1 Cup clean sand from a local craft store, wet to desired consistency
2 Condiment squeeze bottles – 1st with liquid dishwashing soap (4 pumps); 2nd one with clear water
1 Schleich dog
Small cotton cloth
Natural sponge
Small wooden scrub brush
1 Small tray
Non-slip shelf liner
Small bucket to empty water as needed

Preparation for the Dog Wash:

🪜Standing on a step stool or learning tower at the kitchen sink, ask the child to remove* the tops from each squeeze bottle (one at a time) and them on the counter.

🧴Add four pumps of liquid dishwashing soap into the first bottle while counting out loud with them, “1,2,3,4”.

💧Slowly add water to the second bottle.

🍼Replace* the tops back on each bottle by turning them slightly.

*Demonstrate as needed, “May I take a turn?” Give each top an exaggerated twist for the child to see. These intentional and deliberate movements help them see how each bottle top is opened and closed securely.

👐🏼Invite the child to carry one bottle at a time, and with two hands, to the table.

🪑After carefully placing each on the table top, ask the child to please sit in the chair.

⏳Invite the child to pour the sand into the first dish. Cautiously, he added the sand.

🐕 Sit beside the child and say, “I would like to take a turn to show you how to clean the dog.” Model one way to roll the dog in the sand, wash and clean up.

🧽Invite the child to wash the dog …

Extensions can be made by washing other animal figurines or other toys. Relatable books are always fun and can be added too!

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