Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 26, 2005, Herald Journal

Making bath time fun


School has begun, and the routines that come with it are satisfactorily underway in our household. My kids have settled into their bedtime routines, and their bath time routines, as well.

My kindergarten daughter loves taking baths and usually has some type of toy that she is also washing, along with her own ears, toes, and face; or she enjoys playing with funny foam, which she likes to draw shapes and, now, letters with.

My third grade son, on the other hand, as he has moved up on the age scale, opts, many times, for showers, although baths can still be quite fun for him, too.

As bath time is required more frequently now that school is in session, here are some tub time activities to make that all-important routine go a little quicker (well, at least, getting them into the tub), smoother, and more fun. And, a little learning can also take place in the process.

These ideas are from www.christian-parent.com, Parenting magazine, February, 2005; or tried and true from my own bathing beauties. Have fun!

• Gather some everyday objects that can be put into the tub, such as a big plastic toy, a sponge, a bottle of lotion or shampoo, a small plastic toy, a block, a quarter, a paper clip, a cotton ball, a Styrofoam plate, etc. Try to find different-sized and different-weighted objects, and have your child guess before taking the test if the object will sink or float. Let your child drop the object into the water and discuss the outcome.

• Make colored ice cubes by adding drops of food coloring to the ice cube tray before freezing, then put a few of them into a zipper-lock bag and add the bag to the bath. Watch as the ice melts and the colors blend. Or just put the individual-colored cubes in the water and watch as the water turns color(s). Discuss why the cubes melted.

• Styrofoam egg cartons float wonderfully in the water. Fill each egg hole of the carton half full with water and add different colors of food coloring to some sections, leaving a few sections with clear water. Give your child an eyedropper and show her how to use it to move the colored water to the clear water sections. Let her “experiment.” Have her mix colors and talk about the results.

• Since the cartons float, they work great as ferry boats carrying little objects in each section or “seat.”

• For a younger child, with washable markers, let him draw freckles, dirt, and boo-boos all over a plastic doll, and in the tub, let your child wash the baby doll squeaky clean.

• Have your child crumple a piece of paper and push it to the bottom of a plastic cup. Have her turn the cup upside-down and, making sure that the paper remains stuck up in the cup, have her keep the cup perfectly straight up and down in a vertical position and push it through the water, until it touches the bottom of the tub. The air trapped inside the glass will prevent the tissue from getting wet. Wow! It’s magic!

You could also hide something tiny inside the tissue and when the trick is completed, have your child look inside the tissue for a hidden treasure!

Fun and easy art activities

Here are some fun and easy activities to engage in after school or on the weekend.

Homemade finger paints

This is a good-smelling, finger tappin’, finger paint concoction. Mix one small package flavored sugar-free gelatin and two tablespoons hot water together in a bowl. Don’t overmix. Let the jiggle finger paints cool five to 10 minutes before using.

With freezer paper (the shiny side) or finger paint paper, let the fun begin, creating wonderful pictures with your fingers and the self-made finger paint.

Soft, inexpensive blocks and builders

Using paper, plastic, and/or Styrofoam cups, your child can build and create many creations with the cups and knock them over without fear of the block brigade hurting himself, herself, or someone else. The blocks are inexpensive and stack inside one another for easy storage.

Pasta pets and button bracelets

Using different types of noodles, i.e. elbow, penne, or bow tie; some pipe cleaners, and maybe some glue to add some noodle fur or manes, your child and you can create some posable pasta pets.

Slide the pasta pieces onto the center of a pipe cleaner and bend the pipe cleaner on both sides to create the neck and tail. You could bend the neck to form a face, and using shorter pieces of pipe cleaner, attach some legs, ears, or horns. Be creative! (This idea is from the website, jas.familyfun.go.com).

Pipe cleaners can be used to make a lot of neat craft projects, including a button bracelet. This idea was in the Highlights magazine, October, 2005, and is by Susan Shadle Erb.

Leaving about an inch open on each end, thread buttons onto a pipe cleaner. Either twist the ends together to finish the bracelet, or twist each end of the pipe cleaner into a loop, put a piece of ribbon through the two loops and tie the ribbon in a bow to close it.


“Children? Wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, wonderful! And yet again, wonderful.”

– William Shakespeare

And aren’t we lucky to be around such wonderful people? Enjoy your children!