One of my favorite times of the day is bath time! My son loves the water and couldn’t be happier splashing away. Chances are your little one spends a lot of time in the bath as well so why not add some learning to the fun? In this post you will find ideas and strategies on how to encourage your child’s development while they are taking bath.
When we embrace teaching our children during daily routines they can learn ALL DAY long. You do not need fancy lesson plans to teach your little one…just some mindful parenting!
Cause and Effect
This cognitive skill allows children to learn that they can manipulate the world around them and have an outcome. By giving your child cups (these are the ones we have) they can see the impact of filling them up and dumping them out. Stacking cups work perfectly because the size variety will show them the differences in using a big cup and small. Dump the water into different containers or pipes like these to give some variety to tub time.
Pick a few words that you want your child to learn during bath time. Start with three that you say frequently and can focus on during tub time such as pop and splash. If you pick ones that are fun to say your child will be more motivated to imitate you. Say “pop” as you poke at the bubbles in the tub. Label “splash” every time your child smacks the water. Take his rubber ducky and make it climb the side and say “up, up, up” then have the duck dive in the water with another “splash!” Get creative! You will be surprised at how quickly your child will pick up these target words if you do this consistently.
Teaching how to share should start at home. Many parents think they need to be around other children in order to learn to share but we can actually prepare them to share with others before the situation comes up at a play date. During bath time watch your child play with their boat for a while and then ask if you can have a turn. Prompt them to give you a turn or trade them with a different toy. Later on start playing with a different toy and when they become interested and start to point or ask for it say something like, “Your turn!” so that they can see sharing modeled for them.
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When toddlers learn to identify their body parts they are gaining skills in receptive language (understanding of words). Being able to point to eyes, nose, legs, etc. means that they know what a word means and can follow a simple direction by pointing to it.
When children label body parts they are gaining skills in expressive language which lead to a larger vocabulary. The more your child hears a word the more likely they are to repeat it. You can start to label body parts from day one so that your little one hears them many times.
To practice during bath have your child wash their ears, nose, etc. and see if they can identify and label their different body parts. You can also point to your own ears to show them as sometimes it is difficult for them to understand something they can’t see.
Identification generally is easier so expect them to be able to point to their toes before being able to label them.
Sing a Song
The bathroom is a great place to practice singing as the unique echo can provide lots of fun (we all sing in the shower right?) Come up with a fun little bath time song or use one that goes well such as “Rubber Ducky”. Singing helps encourage imitation of words due to the repetition so it will help build your bath buddy’s vocabulary.
If they love bath time and don’t want it to end, a song can provide a smooth transition out.
When we fit learning into the routines we do everyday your child will get more opportunities to pick up new skills. “Teaching” your child should look like play as that is how they learn best! How does your little one learn in the tub? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!