Bathtime (or pooltime) is fun time for your toddler. Playing with water is both fun and fascinating. Your child can see it, and he can touch it, but he can't hold it for more than a second before it washes out through his fingers. And pouring water, which can flow so smoothly, is not at all like dumping sand or any other solid. Old favorites such as rubber duckies or other floating animals will of course delight your toddler in the bath or wading pool. But almost anything else that floats (so long as it's safe) will also be a big hit. Try these for water play:
Never leave your toddler alone in the bath or wading pool—not even for a second.
- Plastic stacking cups or other unbreakable containers (like plastic measuring cups or bottles) which are great for filling and emptying with water.
- Watering cans or cups with one or more holes in the bottom which allow him to create his own stream or, if you hold it above his hands, play "catch the water."
- Floating balls, boats, bath books, and foam toys are fun to set sailing and then to try and catch.
- Bathtub activity centers that spin or rise or make noise when your toddler pours water through them.
- Bathtub crayons, which are great for the budding artist.
- Bubble baths, which are just plain fun.
Try not to rush your toddler in and out of the bath. Let your child continue to have some time to play naked. Of course, you'll have to make sure that the room—or the day, if you're playing in the outdoor wading pool—is warm enough for your toddler. If so, naked play will give your toddler the chance to experience an array of sensations that he can't get any other way: The contrast between a splash of cool water and the warmth and softness of the towel you wrap around him; the warmth of the sun on his back; the touch of a breeze on his belly. Would anyone want to deny these pleasures to a child?