By Guest Contributor Dakota Murphey
Taking a bath may be an indulgence for grown-ups, but it’s a daily routine for most kids. And while bath time is usually great fun for children, boredom can set in – which then makes it difficult to get the little ones into the tub without a fight. What to do? It’s time to make bath time fun again.
Here, Dakota Murphey – a mummy blogger working with UK based specialists the Bathroom Discount Centre - shares 5 fantastic bathtub ideas designed to spark the imagination and turn bath time into a sensory adventure. Whether your little darlings are toddlers, pre-schoolers or a little bit older, with fun and games like these on offer, they’ll be begging you for a bath every evening!
1. Water Balloons
Balloons are a cheap and easy way to entertain any small child, and no more so than in the bath. Fill some balloons with air, some with cold water, and place coloured bath tablets in a few, then fling them into the warm bath along with your child.
Your toddler will love exploring the squishy, squeezy soft texture of the balloons. The sensation of cold water balloons is particularly exhilarating, especially when they burst accidentally (or on purpose). Why not let your child pop the balloons to see what colour they are on the inside? The ones with a coloured tablet inside will explode in a riot of colour and turn the bathwater a different shade. Great sensory play.
2. Bath Time Puppet Show
Turn your child’s bath time into an imaginative puppet show, with the help of a few washcloth puppets. Ready-to-buy kids’ washcloths are available in a wide range of animal designs including frogs, pigs, monkeys, rabbits, giraffes and anything else the heart desires. Alternatively, you can make your own washcloth puppets using not much more than a hand towel, some fabric paint and a few embellishments. You can save money on your craft supply purchases by using a Michaels coupon code.
Once you have your characters, the world of puppetry is your oyster. Make up stories on the spot or recount a favourite fairy tale – you can always substitute a princess for ‘Priscilla, the princess pig’ or turn a frog puppet into a scary monster if necessary. Perform for your child or let them join in – and don’t forget a starring role for the soap bar!
3. Bath Painting
Water and painting is an age old combination that never fails to spark a child’s creativity. You can give your little ones shop bought bath crayons and let them have free rein of the bath tub walls – don’t worry, these crayons won’t stain the sanitaryware.
Alternatively, and especially if your kids are a bit older, ask them to help you make homemade bath paint using baby shampoo, food colouring and corn-starch. Take a 12 cup muffin baking tray and put 2tbsp of corn-starch into each of the 12 cups, followed by 50ml of baby shampoo and 5 drops of food colouring per cup. Stir together with 3tbsp of water until smooth.
Give your child a paintbrush and sit them in a warm bath, ready to express their creative genius all over the tub and their own bodies too. When they’ve finished (and you’ve oohed and aahed over the finished result), it’s time to rinse down.
4. Fishing For Letters
How about repurposing your trusty fridge magnet letters and turn them into ABC ‘fishes’? Simply pop the alphabet magnets into the bathwater and make a fishing rod by tying a magnet to a string on the end of a stick – then let the fishing expedition begin. For extra effect, you could add a few drops of blue food colouring to turn the water blue, and perhaps add other sea life items – rubber fishes or crabs, sea shells or plastic underwater plants.
Your child will have to use all their fine motor skills to catch the ‘fishy’ letters, while learning about what’s in the ocean and find out which materials are magnetic and which aren’t. Count how many they can catch and give a prize at the end of bath time.
5. Foam And Bubbles
Blowing bubbles through a wand is always a banker, and so much less messy when then young bubble blower is sitting in the bath. But even without the regular bubble & wand set, there’s much fun to be had if you just a little more bubble bath directly under the running tap. Foam beards, anyone?
If you want to go one step further, let your child experiment with shaving foam straight from the spray can. Denser than bath bubbles, they lend themselves to sculpting into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes.
Dakota Murphey; BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, freelance writer and Photoshop dab hand. When she's not running around after her two kids, you’ll find her relaxing in a nearby coffee shop, watching the world pass her by. If you enjoyed this article, see what else she's been up to on Twitter - @Dakota_Murphey.