My 2-year-old squealed as the foam letter went flying through the air and hit him on the forehead. It’s his favorite time of day: bathtime. We made up many games during bath time, but this is his favorite. Mine too, because he’s learning his letters. In 2 weeks, he knew all of his uppercase letters, just from fun in the bath.
“L” he called out next. I flicked the letter and it stuck to his belly. He roared with laughter and splashed a little too hard. I’m soaked, but it’s hard to be mad at him. Learning should be fun, and wiping the floor is easy.
I love that bath time is so fun. Our boys would spend half of the day in the bath if given the opportunity. There are a million ways to make bath time fun, but we also want to integrate some learning.
How Important is Bath Time?
Bath time is crucial for development. Many senses are stimulated, not to mention the academic skills, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity that are practiced.
Using Bath Time to Boost Development
There are many reasons that bath time gives your child’s development a boost.
- Routine: Bathtime is one of many routines that help babies and children thrive. Knowing what to expect gives them a sense of security and control.
- Calming: Bath time is a great way to calm down and de-stress. Having a consistent calm down routine promotes a good nights sleep, which benefits the whole family.
- Self-Care: Spending time in the bath promotes good self-care habits. Taking care of your body, and finding time to relax and de-stress are healthy routines that will benefit your child throughout their entire life.
- Bonding Time: Bath time is a great time to bond with your little one. Since supervision is crucial during bath time, it’s easy to use this one-on-one time to play with your child and strengthen your bond.
- Independence: As your child grows, learning to wash themselves and put their toys away is good practice.
Being Sneaky in Bath Time
As busy parents, we are always looking for opportunities to squeeze in a little learning in our daily routine. Bath time is the perfect time to sneak in some beginning skills practice.
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- Colors: Color baths are a creative way to learn colors. Have your child go on a hunt around the house for (water-safe) toys of one color. Add that color of bath tabs or glowsticks to their bath, and you have a simple, engaging way to learn colors. Naming the colors of toys is another great way to introduce color names. Play I Spy to have your child find the colors.
- Parts of the Body: Name the body parts as you wash. “Let’s scrub your back now!”
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- Counting: You can count anything, why not practice counting in the bath? Count toys, how many times you can scoop and dump, or even how many letters you can toss and stick to the side of the tub.
- Alphabet: My 2-year-old learned his uppercase letters in two weeks…just playing in the bath. I held up a foam letter and he identified it. After he told me the correct name, I flicked it at his forehead. He roared with laughter every time and could identify all of his letters just from this one game. Kids learn best when they are engaged, so make learning a game. I Spy is another game to practice letters that your child will love.
- Sink/Float: The bath is one big science experiment waiting to happen. Gather items from around your house or use this sink and float kit, and ask your child if the item will sink or float.
- Fine Motor: Have you thought to practice fine motor skills in the bath? It’s simple. We love these eyedroppers. Squeezing strengthens muscles in little fingers. Grab some pots, pans, measuring cups, and ladels for scooping and pouring practice and you have a fine-motor haven. Kids love to cook, and the bath is the perfect place to pretend do that.
- Imagination: We can imagine anywhere-especially in the bath. Pretend to cook, use toys to pretend you are on a boat, or even pretend you are a fish in the ocean. Imagination grows with practice, and there are countless ways to practice in the bath.
- Songs: Everything is more fun when you sing! I am a terrible singer, but my kids don’t care. We love to sing bath time songs (Earnie’s Rubber Duckie song is our favorite) but any song will spice up bath time. You can even make up your own songs.
- Read: Reading is crucial to development, why not read in the bath? These water safe books are a great way to boost vocabulary. You can also retell some of their favorite stories with bath toys.
- Language Development: The bath is a great way to introduce academic vocabulary. Talk about more, less, empty, full, bigger, and smaller. Name all of their toys, colors, and body parts as you play with or wash each item.
It’s Most Meaningful When…
Kids learn best when it’s meaningful. One of my favorite ways to teach a concept is to hide it within our daily routine. They don’t even realize they are learning, especially when you make up silly little games like “flick the letter and hit you in the forehead” in the bath.
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How do you sneak in learning during bath time?