My toddlers LOVE the bath. They love it so much that they can’t wait to finish so that they can get in the bath and would stay in there all night if they could. They probably spend a minimum of 30 minutes each night in there, maybe even more. Lately I have started adding some educational activities to our bath time routine, and the girls are loving it.
Here are a few simple ways you can turn bath time in a learning opportunity (without them even knowing it!).
1. Add foam letters and numbers to the bath.
If you don’t have foam letters and numbers already, you really should get some. They are a great way to introduce letter and number recognition, and if you put them in the bath you can do a few activities with them. We like to ‘fish’ for letters (find me the letter S) or numbers, we spell out names on the side of the bath (they stick well to a wet bath) and we even sort them into colors.
Bath time is the perfect opportunity to explore the concept of floating and sinking. We add some extra toys to the bath (most traditional bath toys float so you do need to raid the toy box for a few heavier ones) and see if they sink or float. You can extend this activity by guessing what will happen, and discussing why they sink or float.
I’m sure I’ve seen some variation of these cups in every household with a child. They are so versatile, and make such a great bath toy. You can use stacking cups for so many things including:
- discussing full and empty
- discussing which one holds more, which one holds less, which ones hold the same amount
- counting how many smaller cups it takes to fill the large cup
- sorting the cups from smallest to largest and largest to smallest
The bath is the perfect time for a sing-a-long, and I’ve yet to meet a toddler that doesn’t love to sing. Our bath time favorites are “If you’re Happy and You Know It” (splash your hands, kick your legs) and 5 little ducks (use rubber ducks and take one away each time – singing and math!).
Kids love puppets and if you buy the wash cloth variety you can use them in the bath too. Trust me, this one will be extremely popular! For the younger toddlers, they will enjoy watching and listening to you use the puppets, and as they get older they will begin engaging in pretend play with the puppets and make up stories of their own. Another fun activity that is excellent for language development.
6. Bath Crayons
Bath crayons are amazing! So much fun and they wipe off easily (they really do!). The learning opportunities are endless with these. Fine motor practice, drawing, writing etc. These are pretty cheap and definitively worth the investment.
I believe that any opportunity that you can give a child to read is important. Bath time is no exception. They make great waterproof bath books, and kids love flipping through them. We also sometimes put on an audio book during bath time.
Did you know that you can buy bath puzzles? I didn’t until we were given one for my daughters birthday. What a hit! We have the Sophie the Giraffe one pictured above and it’s great. The animals also squirt water so it’s like two toys in one.
I’ve since discovered that there are different kinds of bath puzzles, including wall puzzles like the one featured below. Puzzles are a great learning tool, and if you can do them in the bath – why not!
I love to use bath time as a chance to talk about what happened during the day. When I have worked in early years classes at school, a lot of children seem to have trouble retelling a simple event. By asking your toddler what they did today (use words like first, then, after, finally) you are informally teaching them this skill. If your toddler is older, ask them further questions including, ‘What was your favorite part of today?’ ‘Who did you play with? and similar follow up questions. Even if you are doing most of the talking (and answering for them if they are too young to talk), you are still teaching your child valuable vocabulary skills.
Do you have any educational activities or games that you play in the bath? Share them with us below.