Folding Clothes

Two young men fold clothes with their teacherFolding clothes can help to teach a number of different skills, as this activity from the St. Nicholas home in Malaysia demonstrates.  Skills which can be taught include:

  1. Basic concepts:  clean/dirty;  wet/dry
  2. Sorting:  separate by type of clothing (socks/shorts) or color or who they belong to
  3. Matching:  put socks in pairs, or match school uniform top to bottom
  4. One-to-one correspondence:  one outfit for each student
  5. Directionality/positional concepts:  back/front; top/bottom; left/right
  6. Textures/types of fabric:  rough/smooth; cotton/polyester/wool
  7. Vocabulary:  shirt, pants, shorts, socks, etc.
  8. Handskills:  using two hands together, grasp and release, fine motor coordination


The youth should be involved in as many steps as possible of the process, including:Clothesline

  • identifying dirty clothes needing to be washed
  • gathering dirty clothing in one location
  • carrying dirty laundry to place where it will be washed
  • assisting with the washing process (this may be using a washing machine or it may be washing by hand in a basin or bucket)
  • drying clothes (hanging on a clothesline to dry or placing in electric dryer)
  • identifying when clothing is dry
  • carrying dried clothing to area for folding
  • folding each piece, with assistance, as necessary
  • identifying where clean clothing should be located
  • delivering clean and folded laundry to correct location


Young man folds laundry

Skills can be taught in the classroom, and also reinforced in the natural setting where the youth lives and where laundry is normally done.

Student folds towel