Set up an indoor toy wash as a fun way to combat germs, and to clean your toys during cold and flu season.
As you can imagine, in a daycare setting, the whole germ thing can get pretty icky during cold and flu season.
Messy sneezes, runny noses, kids coughing constantly…
You know what I’m talkin’ about.
Believe me, I have a strict illness policy, and I teach the hooligans, from a very young age, to cough and sneeze “into your sleeve” (often said in an urgent, panicky voice: “AGHHH!! Into your sleeve, into your sleeve, into your sleeve!”). We wash our hands after every nose-blow, we get lots of fresh air and exercise, and we load up on fresh fruit and vegetables at snack and lunch.
Despite all of our efforts, it’s pretty much guaranteed that every child will become sick with a cold at least once in wintertime, and as a result, our toys will be sneezed on, and coughed on, and touched with hands that are possibly more germy than one would like to think.
So… How do we keep our toys clean during cold and flu season here in my daycare?
We hold a TOY WASH, and we do it regularly during the winter months.
A toy wash is a great way for the kids to have fun while cleaning the toys. Not only does this activity take care of any cold and flu germs that might be lurking on the toys, it leaves our toys squeaky-clean, free from dirt and grime.
And the best part? A toy wash is a fun WATER PLAY ACTIVITY. The hooligans LOVE a water activity, especially when soapy bubbles are involved. Just check out our baby bath station activity, shaving cream car wash, and muddy car wash activity if want to see them in action.
A toy wash activity will keep my toddlers and preschoolers happily entertained for ages. The warm, soapy water is soothing and relaxing, and there’s plenty of opportunity for imaginative play while the children wash and scrub and dry the toys. It’s a wonderful activity for a cold, winter morning when we’re cooped up indoors.
To set up a toy wash like ours, you’ll need:
- Plastic table cloth
- large towels
- A large basin or two (I like to use shallow storage bins for this activity)
- large bowl for rinsing
- warm water
- dish soap
- food colouring (optional)
- scrub-brushes (a dish scrubber or toothbrush for example) – optional
If I have only one child in my care on the day of the toy wash, I set them up at the double-sink in the kitchen. I fill one sink with soapy, warm water for washing, and the other sink, I fill with clear warm water for rinsing.
When there are 2 or more children here, I prefer to set our toy wash up on the floor:
First, I spread a plastic tablecloth out to protect the floor from spills. You know there’s going to be some splashin’ and spillin’ going on!
Then I place a thick towel down for each basin to sit on. This is a must as these towels will absorb most spills and prevent the work space that the children are sitting on from becoming wet with puddles.
I give each child a couple of tea towels for drying their hands and the toys while they’re playing, and we roll up our sleeves.
I fill up the basins with warm water, adding a squirt of dish soap and a few drops of food colouring to tint the water. The food colouring is optional. It just makes the activity a little more interesting.
We swish the soap and food colouring all around, working up a nice, sudsy foam, and then the toy baskets are placed next to the basins.
I set a large bowl of clear water on the mat for the children to rinse their toys in to remove the soap bubbles.
Let the toy wash begin!
On this day we were washing Potato Heads and farm animals. On another day we’ll wash our Fisher Price Little People and Polly Pockets. We’ll wash cars and trucks, foam blocks and Duplo, play dough tools and our play food… Basically, we’ll wash anything that’s waterproof. If it can get wet, in it goes!
The kids love scrubbing the toys, swishing them in the soapy water and rinsing them clean. And all the while they play out little scenerios with the toys that they’re washing.
When the toys have been thoroughly cleaned, they’re dipped in the bowl of clearn water for rinsing. Then they’re set on a large towel to dry.
What a great way to spend the morning, and a fun way to safely clean the kids’ toys in a home daycare.
Be sure to check out these fun kids’ activities too:
And while we’re on the topic of cleaning, check out these 15 awesome cleaning tips from One Crazy House!
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