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Special NeedsExperience the Charm of Hanging Clothes with the Clothesline Relay – Parenting...

Experience the Charm of Hanging Clothes with the Clothesline Relay – Parenting Special Needs Magazine

Boost Teamwork and Motor Skills with a Fun Outdoor Game for All Ages

As I flashback to my childhood years, I recall memories of when I was a young child, running through bed sheets hung neatly in the backyard along my grandmother’s clothesline. My brother, sister, and I would play hide and seek during the summer months, and one of the places we hid was under those bed sheets. We tried to avoid being caught, but my grandmother sometimes ran out of her house, threatening us not to dirty her hard-working, clean laundry. Nevertheless, she ended up playing a chase and tag game with us.

My grandparents didn’t own a dryer or a modern washing machine. They washed their clothes in a vintage wringer washer electric washing machine and dried their clothes on the clothesline outdoors in the summer and down the basement in the winter. I enjoyed the sweet and clean smell of the clothes and bedsheets as I played alongside them.

Washing Machine

As we bring those memories to life, below is a relay activity that works on fine motor dexterity, teamwork, and endurance. I hope you, your family, and your friends enjoy this relay and come up with variations of your own.

Items Needed:

  1. 1.2 Laundry Baskets
  2. A Large amount of clothes (equal amounts in each basket)
  3. A long clothesline
  4. Many Clothespins
  5. An area to hang up the clothesline (or two people can hold each end)

Setting Up:

  1. Place an equal amount of clothing into each basket.
  2. Place the baskets at one end of the play area.
  3. Set up the clothesline at the other end of the play area.
  4. Place enough clothespins (to hang up all the clothes in the basket) beside each basket.


  1. Divide the group of participants into two teams and line them up, one behind the other behind each basket.
  2. On the signal “GO,” the first person in each line picks up one item of clothes and 1-2 clothespins. They run to the clothesline and pin the clothes to the clothesline.
  3. They run back and give the next person in line a “HIGH FIVE,” indicating that it’s their turn. The first person returns to the end of their rope.
  4. Play continues until all the clothes from the basket are hung up, at which time their team must all sit down.
  5. The first team to hang up all their clothes wins.



  1. Reverse the relay by removing the clothing from the clothesline and placing them into the basket.
  2. Put the item of clothes on your body, run to the clothesline, take it off, and hang it on the line.
  3. Perform various locomotor movements going to and from the clothesline (skipping, galloping, jumping, etc.)
  4. Place colored clothespins on the clothesline. Match the colored clothes to the same-colored clothespins. You may want to use colored socks during this relay.



If you use a mobility device

  1. Place the clothesline at a lower reaching distance.
  2. Make sure the surface is smooth for movement.
  3. Place a small bucket with several clothespins in it and attach it to a thin rope and wrap the rope around the participant’s waist. This will make it more adaptable during the activity.
  4. If you use a walker, place a chair close to the clothesline so that you can sit and pin the clothes on the line.

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