Bath time doesn’t have to be structured play – as long as it’s safe, you should encourage any bath activities that make bath time a fun experience for your child. Just be prepared to get splashed!
Here are some bath games and activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that are fun, creative and educational.
• Give babies a small net to fish out marine toys, such as fish, starfish, sharks and whales. Toddlers will enjoy using a magnetic fishing rod set to try and catch them.
• Bubbles never fail to delight children of all ages. Games can be created out of blowing them, bursting them and making beards and funny shapes.
• Games with mirrors can be incorporated with making funny hairstyles with water and shampoo or even shaving gel.
• You can teach your little one about body parts and sing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” while washing her, getting her to point out each body part as you sing.
• Puppet shows can entertain your child - putting a washcloth or towel over your hand and talking in a funny voice can keep both toddlers and babies amused.
• Dropping ice cubes with food colouring in the bath is a great way to teach about colour and add some fun.
• You can use toys to teach your child about sinking and floating, or line up all the wind-up toys and race them down the bath.
• Grab some cups of different sizes, a sieve and a funnel so your child can have fun pouring water between the different vessels.
• Use bath crayons or paint to get your child to draw a picture of what she did that day; if she’s a little older, get her to practice writing her name.
• Eating food such as ice cream, yoghurt or fruit in the bath can save parents time on busy days when running behind on schedule, by combining bath time and feeding time. Best of all kids can get as messy as they like, which may mean they actually eat more than they would sitting in a highchair.
• Imaginary games that revolve around water, such as being in a pool or the ocean or being on a boat, are great for older toddlers and preschoolers.
• Ball games that involve basic throwing and catching skills are good for bath time too: stick a mini basketball ring against the bathroom tiles or a small volleyball net across the bath tub t play with a light sponge ball.
• Listening to music or books on tape will allow your child to enjoy bath time without getting too overexcited.
Note: If your baby does not like baths, try talking and singing to help them become relaxed. If they cry no matter what, try taking them into the bath with you. The more fun they have each time, the easier it will be to get them in the tub every day.