You truly can help your baby develop their brain anywhere. The bath is a great example. Sure, you need to get baby clean but you can also take a few extra minutes to give baby some fun learning experiences too. (Of course, you can't do all of these things with tiny babies. For them, you have to do much simpler things like texture of the washcloth or bubbles or colors. Safety needs to also be top of mind - never leave a baby unattended in the bath). Try some of these fun things and your little one may actually WANT to take a bath:
- Magic. You can buy special colors that work in the bathtub similar to food coloring. We use thoroughly washed dish soap bottles and fill them with a small amount of water and a couple of drops of color. That can be magical to a little one to watch the drops go in and the color distribute through the water. Tell them, "red" or "blue" or whatever the color is. Let them shake up the bottle. The real magic comes in when you help baby add a little red to a cup and then a little blue. Poof - purple! Magic! Kids love the magic and you are helping them learn their colors in the process. Ask them to say the color with you. Depending on their age, they may or may not be able to do that but you should continue to say the color when you make it. This helps them make the association and they are taking it all in and processing the great information.
- Letters and words. There are some very inexpensive foam bath letter, number and word cards available. What you can do with this is almost unlimited but here are a few ideas: Line up the numbers on the side of the tub and count with your little one. When they are older, ask them to help you find the numbers and put them on the side of the tub themselves. You can do the same things with the letters. Help them spell simple words like duck and ball. Help them spell their name and let them help find the letters and put them on the edge of the tub.
- Bubbles. Again, this is age dependent and you need to be certain to follow the manufacturer's recommendation for bubble use. It's fun to play games with your little one like making a bubble beard and being Santa. You can put plastic dishes in the bath and help your baby serve up dishes of anything with bubbles. We use our plastic frying pan and sauce pan and make different food orders with our bubbles.
It takes some extra time, but kids love it when you get in with them and play (learn) together. Make it a point to get in the bath occasionally and your little one will love it even more. You can help your baby develop their brain almost anywhere and the bath is rich with opportunities. Break out the bubbles and your silly side and have fun learning with baby in the bath!