Bath time is a great time to chat and get communication flowing with your toddler. Here are 15 ways to get chatting with your toddler at bath time!
Bath time is the only time in the day my 3-years-old sits still. Therefore it’s a great time to chat and get communication flowing. I have come up with 15 ideas on how we can support communication at bath time! So get the water on, throw in some bubbles, and get chatting!
1. Sing songs
Now is the best time to get singing, especially Row row row your boat! My new favorite version is “Row row row your boat gently in the bath if you see a rubber duck, don’t forget to laugh!” Music boosts language development, so don’t hold back with singing!
2. Ready, steady, splash!
Get ready to get wet! Support attention and listening by making them wait for “go!” and then having a big splash! Listening skills are a very important part of learning to speak.
3. Small world play
Introduce small world toys to the bath to create a new play experience, e.g., animals that need to learn to swim, cars that can now drive underwater, and LEGO men who want to sail in the boat. Narrate your story to teach story telling!
4. Unusual objects
Find some random and unusual objects from around your home that are new to your child and let them use bath time to explore them e.g., a kitchen whisk, bubble wrap, pompoms, kitchen foil, plastic cutlery, an empty flower pot. The surprise element will create opportunities for conversation.
5. Tea party
Bring in the cups and teapot and play a tea party! Pour “tea,” mix and stir, share the water, and take turns.
6. Blow bubbles
Whether it is adding a bubble bath or blowing bubbles from a pot, bubbles can be a great sensory activity that can also support breath and breath control awareness.
7. Add color
A little food coloring can go a long way! (although please check it won’t stain your bath first!) Add a few drops of color to make a simple bath an exciting, colorful adventure! Make it red for a “lava bath” or green to be an “alien bath” or pink to be a “unicorn bath!”
8. Explore temperature
Chat about “hot”, “cold”, “warm”, “freezing”, etc., when exploring temperature in the bath. With careful supervision, your child can use the taps to change the temperature while you model the vocabulary. If they aren’t big enough to use the tap safely, pour cups of different temperature water e.g., one cold and one warm for them to feel it, and then pour into their bath.
9. Explore size and capacity
Bring in containers like lunchboxes, water bottles, and cartons to explore capacity, pouring from one to another, filling and emptying. You can model and support vocabulary, such as fill, empty, half, full, pour, big, bigger, biggest, small, smaller, smallest, overflow, capacity, etc.
10. Speech sounds
Working on speech sounds can be tricky and dull! Bring practice to the bath e.g., pour water while making your “ssss” sound, splash while making your “d d d” sound, popping bubbles while making you “p p p” sound.
11. On and under the water
The concepts “on” and “under” can be easily explored in water by using toys and objects “on” and “under the water and modelling the vocabulary during play. It’s that simple!
12. Learn those verbs
E.g., splash, float, ripple, pour, drip, pop, etc. Bathtime can be active, so it’s a great time to model verbs related to the water.
13. Adjectives that describe water
E.g., hot, cold, wet, dry, slippery, sparkly, deep, shallow, etc. Model adjectives to describe the water, the feel of the soap, the smell of the bath bomb, the noise of the tap.
14. Body parts
The bath is a great way to highlight and name body parts e.g., legs, tummy, back, knees, arms, etc. You can model the body part as you wash it / dry it and see if your child can locate the different parts on request.
15. Chill and chat
Bath times can be a relaxing wind down at the end of a long day. You can explore how they are feeling and what they are thinking about. Just take a moment to sit down next to the bath, face-to-face, and create a moment of connection.
Snuggle after the bath and talk about what you were doing, and how good it feels to relax in the water. To get some extra practice, you can use speech learning apps, like the Speech Blubs app. They have awesome sections about Body Parts and Getting Dressed, which will give you plenty more conversation starters to work on those communication skills! Make sure to visit the Speech Blubs Blog, where you’ll find more ideas for speech development.
*This is a collaborative guest post.
About the author
El is a Children’s Speech and Language therapist from the UK. For the last 5 years, she has been working alongside children ages 0-16 in clinics and schools to get super talking started! She has joined the Blub Blub team to help cook up some creative communication content and activities. Fun fact: Her favorite game to play is “Hide the Spider”.