Do you have a young child who does a lot of delaying tactics or simply refuses when you say “It’s bathtime!”?

Normally, it’s effective to tell a child beforehand about an event that’s about to take place.
“Son, we will take a bath in 5 minutes.”

Then, give a choice.
“Would you like to take a bath in your bathroom, or Mama’s bathroom?”
“Would you like to play first, or read while waiting?”
“Would you like to choose which towel to use tonight, or will Mama choose it for you?”
You get the picture.

You may also put a physical timer to help your young child understand the concept of time. And then say, “The timer is telling us it’s time. Let’s go to the bathroom now.”

But sometimes, when a child’s attention has shifted to something while waiting (found a new set of materials to manipulate, etc) or your child’s very tired/sleepy, nothing seems to work. The thing is, while in colder countries, bathing often is not advised (we need the bacteria), we people living in tropical climate see this as a must, especially at night, after our child has played all over our spaces.

I found that playtime in the bathroom does the trick in our household quite often. It doesn’t always get us an enthusiastic YES, but once our toddler is already there with his materials, the mood shifts to something more positive.

Here are three activities I’ve come up with by following my child — proof that children can really learn a lot of concepts simply by playing.

1. Scooping Game

What you need:
* Things to scoop (either your child’s rubber/plastic toys, bath toys, or plants!)
* Scooper of different kinds (strainer, measuring cups, tabo, etc)
* Basin/ Tub/ Container

These days, we are at the stage where my son loves scooping! He eats soup so he can scoop. He eats snacks that he can scoop. He scoops every chance he gets. But, if I give him the classic Montessori scooping work (on a shelf and on a tray), he just throws whatever I put there, lol. Since he already does the typical scooping through practical life work, I decided to use a strainer for our bathroom. And we play “scoop the ___”. It helps a lot in language skills, too! His favorite to scoop would be our miniatures from Safari LTD (aff link).These toys are locally available through Educational Toys Philippines (available at The Parenting Emporium).

2. Sink or Float?

What you need:
* Different objects (that float AND sink like bath toys, pebbles, bottles, leaves, whatever you have at home – do not spend extra on this – just be creative)
* Basin/ Tub/ Container

I got this idea from my toddler. One time, he threw something on his basin (I forgot, it was one of my things in the bathroom), and he said: “It go down!”

The next day, during bathtime, I introduced the idea of sinking and floating by putting things on his basin, and describing each — “Oh! This toy floats! Oh! The strainer sinks!”

You can also just concentrate on one concept: either just sinking, or floating.

At this stage, I think my toddler enjoys dumping all the pieces on his basin the most. 😛

3. Color Mixing

What you need:
* Food Coloring
* Basin/ Tub/ Container

This is one thing my toddler absolutely loves now! I find those liquid food coloring the best for this because all you need is one drop, and as you can see in the photo, the colors mix slowly — so my toddler sees firsthand how the colors change.

“It becomes green!”, he would say.

I advise working with two primary colors at a time. Putting out too many colors will just end your water in dark brown or black.

But…it’s also a good opportunity for your child to see, so you can put out more colors later on. Earlier, my toddler couldn’t wait, so he got all my droppers from me (red, blue, yellow). First, he put red. Then he put yellow. Then he put blue. Then he added water. And then he saw that it was dark right away. “It become black!”, so he added water again. As he added, glimpses of the other colors beneath would surface. “Oh! It becomes green!”. So there is value in that.

The best thing about it is…it has come from his own observation. I did not need to tell him anything, except, “I think something’s happening in the water”. But looking back, there may not have been a real need for that.

So, these are our current activities in the bathroom. Hope you get to try them out and enjoy with your child, too!:)

SPECIAL NOTE: For the purpose of taking photos for this blogpost, I brought the basins we have in the bathroom in our outdoor area. 😛

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  1. Nice activities! Also, aside from attracting them to have a bath (or any task we want them to do) with these activities, routine plays a big part. Just like when you introduce the timer or time to your child. As much the world is now moving towards open learning, mobility, flexibility, structure is still important especially for kids (more so toddlers) who are still learning the concept of discipline. Routine not only teaches them discipline but also provides security or comfort as it reduces anxiety due to uncertainty. If a child has a routine, they are aware that it is time for bed or meal or bath etc. Less refusal, they will just do what they have to do. This may be contrary to the freedom that open learning ( a concept which we know is growing and beneficial) suggests but let’s face it, in life, there are things that we have to do regardless if we like it or not or whether it is convenient or not and we all need to learn to how to deal with it.

    1. Hello. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and taking time to message. 🙂 I agree with routine in a way — we are not strict with time and schedules, but I find that naturally, children find their own rhythm, so I see how routines work for children, too!:)

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