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A happy baby at bathtime playing with toys held in a bath toy bin.

15 Unique Ways to Make Bathtime Fun

Turn bathtime into playtime by adding a few fresh ideas to your bath rotation, from food coloring in the tub (it won't stain, promise) to homemade bath bombs.

10 min read

Bathtime can be the perfect opportunity for a lot of good clean fun, for both you and your kids. Mixing up your routine with a few next-level bathtime activities can inspire even the most tub-resistant kids to look forward to their next bath. Try these ideas for what to do with your kids in the bath, and get ready to turn tub time into an exciting part of the day.

Play With Colors.

Combine water with food coloring or chemical-free food dye, then freeze the various mixtures in an ice cube tray. Bonus points for trays that make cubes in fun shapes (bring on the stars, hearts and dinos!). You can also add small toys–plastic animals, bouncy balls—to tray compartments so they are frozen inside the cubes. When it’s bathtime, fill the tub, add  ice cubes and let your child play with them as they melt—and don’t worry, food coloring agents won’t stain your tub. It’s fun to watch kids discover what happens when colors meld together. Red and blue makes…purple?!

Create Cool Bath Art.

Make your own tile-safe bathtub paints, and let your kids get their art on without making a mess. Here’s how:

  1. Use no-tears baby shampoo or body wash as the paint base—because you know this stuff is going to get everywhere! To make base, stir together 1/3 cup of baby shampoo with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mixing thoroughly to get rid of any clumps or lumps. 
  2. Split the base into different compartments of an ice cube tray, and add a few drops of food coloring or chemical-free food dye to each one until you achieve the color you like. 
  3. Break out a paint brush or use your fingers to create art right on the tub surface—or even on your kid! (FYI, our Silicone Pastry Brush can double as a stellar, dishwasher-safe paint brush.)

Make your own bath bombs.

What’s more fun than dropping something fizzy, colorful and beautifully scented into a bath? Some of the commercial bath bombs can contain ingredients that are a little too harsh for a toddler’s skin, but you can easily make your own at home. Follow these steps:

  1. Mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of citric acid.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil or melted coconut oil, and 25 drops of kid-safe essential oil (like calming lavender). 
  3. Stir in kid-friendly add-ons like sprinkles, environmentally-friendly glitter or food coloring. (If you’d like, you can opt for chemical-free, baby-friendly food dye, available at specialty shops or online.) You may need to spritz a tiny bit of water from a spray bottle to help you stir the mixture—but do this sparingly, as adding too much water quickly will cause your bomb to start reacting. 
  4. Pack the bombs into an ice cube tray or silicone baking cups, depending on how big you want to make them. Let dry overnight.
  5. Remove bombs from trays or containers, then store for up to six months in a cool, dry spot in an airtight container. When you’re ready, break out the bombs—one per bath is the perfect amount—and make bath time a blast.
baby in bath with toys

Transform the bath into a toy wash.

If your kid is really resistant to bathing, bill bathtime as an opportunity to give her favorite toys a scrub. Keep your baby bathtub handy, and fill it up with sudsy water. After she has a great time splashing around and giving her toys a wash (cross “cleaning toys” off your checklist!), your tot might be more amenable to taking her own bath. But at the very least, all that toy washing should have washed away some of her own grime too. Stash the freshly cleaned toys in a Bath Toy Bin, where they can air-dry and stay within easy reach for the next time your baby is ready to play.

Repurpose kitchen items as bath toys.

Give the same old bath toys a break, and introduce something a little different than what's in your bath toy bin. Raid your kitchen drawers and introduce plastic measuring cups, silicone baking cups and strainers, or even a whisk, and let your kid try his hand at “cooking” with soap and water in the tub. (When bathtime is done, just load those items into the dishwasher, and you’ll be ready for your next real-life cooking adventure with your kids.)

baby in bath
baby in bath

Get spa-cific.

Soothe baby’s irritated skin with a homemade oatmeal bath. Or treat yourself and your toddler by mixing up a kid-safe face mask and painting it on you and your kiddo. (Find an easy, DIY recipe here.) Yes, your little one might taste-test the honey and lemon, but you’ll both have glowing skin afterwards.

Turn up the tunes.

Music makes everything better. (See: washing dishes, folding laundry, road trips.) So make a special tub-friendly playlist—”Splish Splash,” “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One,” “Baby Shark”—and twist the bathtime away.

Craft soap sculptures.

Bubble bath is a given, so when the tub has plenty of suds, start piling them up into mountains, castles, cupcakes…. A rubber spatula or two might come in handy for sculpting; food coloring or that cool homemade paint will be fun for stress-free color (it’ll drain out with the bath water, leaving nary a stain on your tub).

Have a silly hair day.

Lather your little one’s hair up with plenty of tear-free shampoo, then style their hair into gravity-defying dos. Think Elvis, Poppy from Trolls or Superman (that forehead curl). Bring along a non-breakable mirror (another fun bathtime accessory in general!) for admiring your handiwork.

bath toys in tub
bath toys in tub

Accessorize.

Things like sponges, squeeze bottles and straws all make great bath companions. Use sponges and bathtub paint to decorate sides of the tub. Make secret potions in squeeze bottles with colored water and a few drops of soap, or squirt water to knock toys off the tub spout. Build sculptures out of straws and pour water through. The creative possibilities are endless.

Throw a tea party.

When it’s bathtime, grab a stool and a favorite, non-breakable tea set and watch your child turn into the perfect party host. Two spoonfuls of foam, please.

Sink or swim.

The bath is a wonderful place to play scientist. Round up some common household objects—a wooden spoon, a silicone spatula, an apple, a tennis ball, etc.—and test out what floats and what sinks.

Blow bubbles.

Bubbles make everything better and bathtime is no exception. Plus, in the bath, you don’t have to worry about wiping up slippery, sticky soap spots when bubbles pop.

Turn out the lights.

Hit the switch, add glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark toys and transform your bathroom into the coolest, kid-centric night club on the block. (You get to be your kid’s plus one.)

Serve alphabet soup.

Foam letters—especially ones that stick to the tub and tiles—spell F-U-N in any bath. Practice easy words, ask kids to find the letters in their name, or line letters up in an alphabetized row the length of the tub.

Now that you know how to bring the joy to your child’s bath routine, here’s how to keep tubtime happy even when the weather cools.

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