Rub a dub dub, clever clogs in the tub!
Bath time can be filled with joy and learning as your little one explores his world. Try these easy games to help his brain and skills develop.
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Are you rushing bath time? Slow down and get wet with these fun games you can play together.

1. Row the boat

Sing 'Row Your Boat' with your little one, mimicking the rowing motions. A baby will have fun flinging his arms about, while an older toddler may get the motions right and notice how the water pushes back if he “paddles” with his palms. This isn’t just good for motor development, but is an excellent first step in understanding physics – and swimming basics.

2. Make a stream

Move your hand in a small circular shape in front of your baby’s body until you have a strong stream going, or make a big stream all along the tub. Once the stream is ready, plop in a light item like an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby Top-to-Toe® bottle, a rubber ducky or a toothpaste cap, and watch the toy float round and round. This simple game will teach your baby about cause-and-effect (i.e. the fact that there’s a reaction for every action) and the basics of physics.

3. Narrate and sing

To promote language development, narrate your baby’s bath to him. Let him feel the difference between warm and cold, teach him his body parts, and add lots of verbs to the conversation, such as “wash”, “sit”, and “brush”. To add to the fun, make up your own words to one of his favourite tunes. Like “Here we go round the little toes, the little toes, the little toes…” or “What do we do with a dirty tummy early in the evening”. It’s also great to develop creativity (and will keep you on your toes)!

4. Make bubbles

Make bubbles with JOHNSON’S® Baby Top-to-Toe® or Soap bar and let your toddler marvel at the colours reflected in each bubble and the difference in sizes. Let him poke the bubbles and watch them burst. It’s great for fine motor development. Give yourself a beard made out of bubbles, and see the chuckles you'll get.

5. Bath dolly

Pretend play is a wonderful tool that teaches toddlers to express their emotions, solve problems, and let their creativity flow. Let your tot bath his or her doll or favourite figurine while you wash him.

6. Make hand puppets

Draw a face with permanent marker on a washcloth. You could then sew the flannel to another washcloth on three sides, leaving the fourth side open so you can stick your hand in to entertain baby. Talk, tickle and tease baby for roll-playing fun. It’s great for language development.

7. Sink or float?

Fill a bucket with objects of different sizes, density and material like an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby gold shampoo bottle, an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby aqueous jar and an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby Bedtime bottle. Give to your toddler to throw into the bath, and see which ones sink or float. It teaches the young mind about physics, and offers a safe space for tots to throw things.

8. Ice, ice baby

Throw ice cubes into the tub and watch them melt! When making the ice, use ice trays with fun shapes, or add to the water some colouring, a tiny rubber toy, a little flower or pebble. It will make them squeal with delight, teaches them patience and introduces them to the wonderful world of chemistry.

9. Tickle tummies

Few things are as easy and satisfying as tickling your little one. Use different items, from your fingers to cotton wool, a sponge, and washcloth. Let the “tickle monster” teach your baby their body parts to add language development to the sensory development.

10. Paint the bath

Take a plastic palette or ice tray, and add various substances of different textures – think shaving cream, JOHNSON’S® Baby aqueous cream, JOHNSON’S® Baby jelly, white toothpaste and so on. Ensure all substances are non-toxic. Now mix in a drop of food colouring to each and let your toddler paint the tub. Wash it all off as soon as bath time is over – you don’t want to stain your tiles and grouting.

11. Create a mosaic picture

Get some Styrofoam from any craft shop and cut the sheets in different colours and shapes. When they’re wet, the foam shapes will cling to the bathtub or tiled wall. Teach your toddler the names of colours and shapes, and allow the bigger toddler to use their imagination to create pictures.

12. Fill and pour

Place containers of different sizes such as an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby gold shampoo bottle, an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby aqueous jar and an empty JOHNSON’S® Baby Bedtime bottle in the bath and let your little one scoop up water and pour it out again. He’ll notice that a big bucket takes more water than a smaller one and this lays the foundation for mathematical concepts such as volume.

What games do you play with baby in the bath? Email us at chatback@parent24.com.

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