There is a lot to learn from Mrs. McNosh.
There are endless possibilities of whimsy when exploring the delightful book Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks. Ol’ Mrs. McNosh is an old-fashioned grandmotherly character who uses a scrubbing board and (SHOCK!) hangs her laundry out to dry on a clothesline… methods both intriguing and hilarious to most children. While it might require some set up prior to reading to your class to introduce how clothes have been washed over the ages, most children are curious about the process.
With an attentive group of children, you might start by introducing how long, long ago clothes used to be cleaned. At first people (women!) washed clothes on rocks on the banks of the river and hung them on tree branches to dry. Eventually a scrubbing board, barrel, and clothesline was used to make the task easier. When the washing machine was invented not everyone had a dryer. Children quickly grasp the sensory nature of the experience when you explain how fresh items smell after hanging in the sun. Clothespins take on a whole new purpose when it comes to hanging out the wash. There is a lot to learn from Mrs. McNosh.
Written in rhyme and meter, children are quick to call out the next predictable item Mrs. McNosh hangs on her clothesline by looking ahead at the colorful pictures. Surprisingly, Mrs. McNosh gets a little carried away and you will not believe what she grabs next to hang out to dry. While most of the language is predictable, Mrs. McNosh offers new words to introduce to your class. And although Mrs. McNosh finishes her laundry in no time, the story can be extended into a fun-filled class clothesline. Also, the book can be used to jump-start a variety of writing/drawing activities.
Clothespins, a clothesline and dolly clothes become a wonderful or imaginative play experience. Clothespins are great tools for improving fine-motor skills. A class clothesline of creative hangings can be displayed and labeled for “reading in context.” Best of all, Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash is a wonderful book to memorize and recite as a class. Enjoy!