Teachable Moments…in the Tub!

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Wanna know a great place to teach your young child? In the bathtub! Talk about a captive audience…it’s perfect!

Recently, my toddler and I have embarked on a series of color lessons via the tub. We started with foam letters and numbers in a variety of colors, and now we’ve graduated to food color. A drop or two of liquid food color turns the water all sorts of fun colors. It’s amazing how much more fun bath time is with green water!

Another favorite  bath time color activity is painting. We start by putting a dollop of hypoallergenic, fragrance-free shaving cream in four cups. Then, my son and I talk about the colors we could make by adding a drop or two of food color to each cup. We often start with the primary colors: add a drop to the shaving cream and use a large paint brush to mix it up. Then, we’ll mix a drop of blue and yellow to make green, or blue and red to make purple. The large paint brush is the perfect instrument for adorning the tub’s walls with our shaving cream “paint.” And then, when my son rivals a California Raisin, we pour water on the walls and our paint magically disappears. Easy clean up!

What are your tricks for finding teachable moments during the day? Comment below and you could win one of several $20 School Box gift cards this month!

submitted by Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.



Filed under Motivation, Parenting, Writing

4 responses to “Teachable Moments…in the Tub!

  1. We use the foam letters in the bath to spell words and practice phonics. My boys also love to practice numbers with bathtub crayons.

  2. Painting with watercolors (or washable tempora paint) is another way for children to discover that colors blended together will make another color.
    Large paint brushes can also be used outside to “paint” with water on cement. Children tend to write their name, letters, numerals as well as drawings which makes this activity good for teachable moments.

  3. Sandra

    One cheap way to show “magic” and “color mixing” is to use coffee filters and washable markers (crayola is the best for this I think, but any washable will do). Let the kids color the coffee filter and then take an eye dropper with water and drip water over the filter so it is completly covered. The colors will blend and spread out and make a bright and colorful, alomst stained-glass window type art piece.

  4. Julie

    I am a caregiver to some friends children and while giving them a bath find myself naturally singing to them. Singing rhyming phrases and songs makes for such a happy time and we also talk about the different body parts as we wash and scrub each one. Just last night I was singing and talking the whole time while bathing a 9 month old and she was so enjoying the water. Even though there was not much conversation back (because she does not speak yet!) I know she was taking it all in! Letting a child play with a toy or two in the tub while getting their bath is fun, relaxing for them and can easily be turned into a learning experience. Having something as simple as a cup or bowl in the bath to let the child explore things like empty/full and fill and pour is also a great tip. After the child has had some fun with “the dishes” I also use that same cup or bowl filled with water to help rinse the child’s body and hair well. Also finding some toys that float and/or sink are great to have in the bathtub at bath time! I have also had many a great conversation with 3-6 year old children about the “beautiful pictures” they drew on the inside walls of the bath tub while giving them a bath, too. Washable bathtub crayons are great! The bathtub is a great place to let them draw to their hearts content and then either leave the drawing there for a while or it very easily washes off with a wash cloth. The bathtub is like a blank canvas that can have a new drawing on it every night! Children are using their artistic skills, conversational skills and imagination with crayons on the bathtub walls! Water has a calming effect on most everyone and especially children. You want your child to enjoy being in and around water and making bath time a fun and relaxing experience is a great way to make that happen!