Your toddler thinks their bath is just for fun, you think it’s for washing – but what if someone told you that, actually, it was also the most educational activity of the day?
Not in a po-faced or serious way, though.
At a glance
- Bath time is like one big science experiment
- Curiosity leads to experiments and yet more questions
- Water’s soothing, calming properties can be a godsend on those scratchy days when nothing has gone quite right for your toddler
Babies and toddlers are naturally fascinated by water and will play with it endlessly (as you may have found out trying to extricate your toddler from the bathroom when you’ve sent them off to wash their hands before dinner. (“That tap still running? I’m sure your hands must be clean by now...”)
The secret of water’s appeal is that it’s the perfect multi-sensory tool for learning. Kids of this age learn best by experiencing something directly with all their senses, rather than by seeing an adult do it or from watching TV. And with water they can splash it, pour it, listen to it, taste it and feel it rushing through their fingers.
Let's get wet!
Bathtime is like one big science experiment: what happens if I tip the water out of this plastic beaker? Why does my boat float but not the soap? Right from the earliest age your child is learning basic scientific concepts: dry/wet, hot/cold, empty/full, before/after. As they pour, splash and drip, they are observing cause and effect and being introduced to basic physics such as why water falls downwards (all without knowing it, of course).
As they get older they can investigate more complex ideas: why toys don’t necessarily sink if they are large yet some smaller ones do, or how a sponge ‘hides’ water by absorbing it.
All the time they’re thinking – how did that happen? How can I change the outcome? This kind of ‘reasoning play’ is fantastic for a toddler’s emerging problem-solving skills. Research shows water play leads children to ask questions: what does this do? Why? Curiosity leads to experiments and yet more questions.
Encourage their imaginations
Water play is also excellent for encouraging their imagination as they create an ocean rescue scene with their plastic boat, figures and beakers or an underwater zoo with their sharks. Research shows it can also help language development, possibly because they get so absorbed in their play and they’re relaxed, too. Water’s soothing, calming properties can be a godsend on those scratchy days when nothing has gone quite right for your toddler. A long soak in the bath with a few toys and a sponge to suck when Mum’s not looking can work magic.
A few carefully chosen, multi-tasking toys will enhance the experience, like Megabloks’ First Builders Build ‘n’ Splash, five stackable underwater creatures that can be kept in place on the bottom of the bath with a suction cup. Pour water in to create a waterfall effect, or use the fishy characters in a game.
Another great feature is that this little bath-time gem is compatible with all the Mega Bloks First Builders sets for bigger builds, bigger waterfalls and lots more building fun!
You can also see more about your toddler's development with our milestones chart.