Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baby Washing

Babies for Washing After I took this picture I realized how creepy it looked, so let me explain.

We sometimes put soapy water in our sensory table.  We often wash dishes or just play with the water.  We also like to wash the babies (well, baby dolls).  The kids get great joy out of this activity.  We provide lots of washcloths and large towels so the babies can be washed, dried, and wrapped up in a nice, warm towel.  They usually get fed at some point after this, too, and then put to bed.

Our school has special babies for washing.  Yup, they live in a crate in the supply room labeled, “Babies for Washing.”  Why?  Because babies with movable limbs get water inside that’s difficult to get out and that eventually gets mildewed.  Our washing babies are either sealed or they are old enough that we don’t care much what happens to them.  While we’re washing babies I put our regular classroom babies out of sight so the kids aren’t tempted to add to the collection of bathing beauties.

The tricky thing, whether it’s dishes or babies, is that other things will migrate to the sensory table.  It’s helpful to decide in advance what you’re willing to allow so you’re not caught off guard.  My personal feeling is that if I can clean it up and there’s no harm to be done by letting them try, I let them.  But things that might rust, mildew, or dissolve I don’t allow.  You’ll have to decide if you can stand painty water from hands that were just at the easel; I don’t have a problem with it.  You have to wash and bleach the dolls at the end of the day anyway, so what’s a little paint?


  1. Got a recommendation for a particular brand of baby doll that is sealed and will work well for this activity?

  2. I wish I knew! To be honest, the older dolls tend to be better. Most of our washable babies aren't pretty anymore (some of them have had haircuts), so even if they do get ruined, we don't care. In fact, the doll at the left side of the picture is identical to one I had as a child.

    Some of the other teachers told me to look for dolls that are sold as babies to wash. In stores they sometimes come with little tubs, but sometimes educational places like Discount School Supply will have ones that are advertised as dolls for washing.

    Good luck, and if you find a brand that's available today that works for you please leave a comment so others can find it too. This activity is really fun and the boys get into it as much as the girls. It would be a shame not to do it because you couldn't find the right doll.