We’re having exciting times in our family as we prepare for two new grand babies! Zoey’s new sister should be born any day now, so we’ve been having lots of fun reading baby books and preparing care-of-baby activities. Zoey’s totally in love with our new baby doll washing activity. We used our DIY sensory table along with a realistic-looking baby doll and doll-washing materials.
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Baby Doll Washing: Practical Life for Toddlers and Preschoolers – YouTube Video
I love seeing Zoey’s sense of order in this video! Watch to the end to see a lovely example of a child’s sensitive period for order (and the satisfaction that having things in order gives her)!
Music from MusicCatRF.
Baby Doll Washing Table
Materials Used for Baby Doll Washing
Here are the materials I used:
- DIY sensory table (I totally love this. It’s been very durable and the perfect container for our sensory bins. I like that the doll-washing setup can be placed on the lid of the sensory table. We still have a sensory table underneath that can be used. Right now, we have an adapted version of our snowman sensory bin.)
- Separate table to be used as a changing table. This is just a table we had. Ours has a shelf underneath for baby wipes, diapers, and doll clothes.
- Baby doll. I chose the 14″ Corolle Emma Drink-And-Wet Bath Baby Doll. I wanted the doll to look realistic, be completely washable, and be able to be used for Sophia’s toilet learning when she’s a toddler. Later, we’ll add the 14″ Corolle Paul Drink-And-Wet Bath Baby Doll.
- Doll bathtub. I used one that fits the dolls because of my limited space and I love how attractive it is. You could use any type of tub, though.
- Pitcher for water. (For a young toddler, you could have the water already in the bathtub.)
- Montessori Services apron
- Baby towel and washcloth.
- Baby wash, baby shampoo, and baby lotion. Mine are from 100% Pure. Even though they’re more expensive, I want something that’s very gentle and safe for Zoey to use. She uses this a lot!
- Doll diapers or Pampers Preemie diapers. I tested the doll diapers to see how they would work. They could be used a number of times, but I think they’re too expensive. I found that the Pampers Preemie (P-S) diapers fit the doll I have perfectly. Zoey loves changing the doll’s diaper!
- Baby wipes (optional) for times when just the diaper needs to be changed.
- Baby clothes. Doll clothes are often expensive and hard to find, although they could be wonderful if you sew or find some you like. I found it less expensive to buy a set of inexpensive preemie clothes. They’re a bit big for the doll, but Zoey doesn’t mind. Larger clothes make it easier for a preschooler to dress the doll. I have girls’ clothes because Zoey will have a baby sister who will be wearing baby girl clothes. For a classroom, I would get gender-neutral clothes, towels, etc.
- Baby blanket. Either a doll blanket or a baby blanket is great. I actually used a baby blanket I still had from when my son and daughter were babies! (I had kept two that were extra special.)
- Water recycling bucket if preferred.
- Sponge to dry the bathtub and surfaces.
Feel free to adapt your doll washing activity for your child or classroom. These are just the materials I used. If you have a toddler who mouths objects, be sure to use large enough objects or only have the activity available when you are very closely supervising your toddler.
Using the Baby Doll Washing Activity
Here are the steps Zoey followed in our baby doll washing activity:
- Put on an apron.
- Take pitcher to sink to fill with water to red line.
- Pour water into doll tub.
- Undress doll.
- Fold used clothes and diaper. Place on shelf underneath the “changing table.”
- Place doll in bathtub.
- Add 2 squirts of baby wash.
- Wash doll with wash cloth.
- Put one squirt of baby shampoo in hand.
- Wash and rinse doll’s hair.
- Finish washing doll.
- Place doll on towel spread out on changing table.
- Dry doll
- Put a squirt of baby lotion on hand and spread on doll.
- Put diaper on doll.
- Put clothes on doll.
- Wrap doll in blanket.
- Put doll back in original place or in doll bed. (A doll bassinet would be great for this if you have one.)
- Empty doll bathtub into water recycling bucket or sink.
- Dry bathtub with sponge.
- Wring out washcloth and lay out to dry (or hang on a clothesline).
- Straighten materials on changing table.
- Straighten materials on baby bath table.
- Fold or hang up apron. (We hang ours on a hook.)
Doll washing is not only popular with many children, but it’s also a wonderful practical life activity. Having a large number of steps is wonderful for the child’s concentration and sense of order. Zoey felt a lot of satisfaction at being able to complete a long sequence of steps. Many of the steps are also helpful for care of self, such as dressing the doll and fastening snaps and Velcro.
Zoey just turned four and has had a Montessori environment and activities since she was a baby. For a toddler or a child who’s new to Montessori activities, you can simplify the doll washing activity as needed.
For a toddler, you might want to just have these steps:
1. Adding baby wash to the doll bathtub. We used the baby wash bottle, but you could use a small squeeze bottle filled with baby wash or whatever is best for your child’s skill level.
2. Washing the baby doll. Obviously, this step is essential!
3. Getting shampoo for the baby doll bath. Again, we used the original baby shampoo bottle, but you could use a small squeeze bottle filled with baby shampoo or whatever will work best for your child.
4. Washing and rinsing the baby doll’s hair. Again, use whatever technique will work best for your child.
5. Drying the baby doll. Hooded towels are especially fun for this! We used a real baby towel.
In case you’re wondering, Zoey’s outfit is from Gymboree.
More Ideas for Baby Doll Washing
You’ll find many more ideas for baby doll washing in my roundup post.
Extended Work with Care of Baby
- We’re focusing now on work with holding a baby and supporting its head.
- We’re also reading lots of books about welcoming a new baby into the family and care of a new baby.
- We’re focusing on kindness activities to make things easier for Zoey’s mom and dad.
- Zoey will be helping me prepare activities for the baby (and, in March, babies!)
I’d love to hear about any activities you’ve had or have right now to prepare for a new baby. 🙂
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy! I’m also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
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