Make Wash Time Talk Time

By PlanetLaundry Staff, CLA Member posted 10-14-2015 16:01

Join Self-Service Laundries Nationwide in Helping Children Learn and Succeed in Life

We know that families spend an average of 2.5 hours during each visit to the laundromat – it’s just part of a regular routine for many parents. With this in mind, Too Small to Fail – a non-profit initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute, which aims to help prepare America’s youngest children for success – teamed up with the Coin Laundry Association and other partners to help turn this often tedious routine into an experience that can be both enjoyable and educational for families and their littlest learners.

Studies have found striking differences in the vocabularies of children from higher-income families, versus those from lower-income families. By the age of 4, children from lower-income families have heard about 30 million fewer words than their higher-income peers. Unfortunately, this “word gap” leads directly to an “achievement gap,” and these inequities during the preschool and kindergarten years largely persist throughout life.

The good news is that simple, everyday interactions such as talking, reading and singing to young children – especially during the first five years of life – can improve language skills, boost brain development and have a lifelong positive impact. That’s why, last month, the CLA and its LaundryCares Foundation joined Too Small to Fail to meet parents in the everyday places they go together – like the laundromat – to help them turn laundry time into meaningful opportunities to talk, read and sing with their children. Other partners include the Laundry Project, Jumpstart, First 5 Alameda County, University of Arkansas and All of these partners are working to bring local volunteers into self-service laundries in Oakland, Calif., northwest Arkansas and other locations across the country to host free laundry days and engage in early literacy activities with children.

If you’re not already a part of this network, here are three simple ways you can get involved to empower parents and provide them with important resources to help their children succeed in school and in life.

3 Things Every Laundry Can Do to Help Children Learn

Hang “Wash Time is Talk Time” Posters

These fun and colorful posters will give parents ideas of different questions and conversation prompts they can use with their children while washing, drying and folding their clothes. Bring excitement and learning to your store by downloading and printing these posters at The posters are available in English and Spanish.

Print Out “Wash Time is Talk Time” Parent Tips and Coloring Sheets
Too Small to Fail has created a toolkit of materials for laundry owner to print for use in their stores and to make available to parents. These tip sheets provide fun and easy ideas to help parents make the most of wash time. Too Small to Fail also has created laundry time coloring sheets to encourage talking, reading and singing while doing laundry. Visit to download these resources and learn more.

Have Children’s Books Handy

Reading books is one of the best ways to help children develop early language and literacy skills. What better way to encourage parents to read with their children than by making books available at your store? One idea is to set up a small bookshelf inside your laundry and encourage local volunteers and community members to donate books for children and families to enjoy during laundry time.

Are you interested in officially joining this network and becoming a “Talking is Teaching” laundromat? Visit or to learn more – and join Too Small to Fail and the CLA in this nationwide effort.

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