Every parent of small children knows that bathtime can be a struggle. Even after you manage to catch your child and get them into the bath, you face the new challenge of trying to keep them entertained for the duration of their visit to the tub. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested methods of making bathing fun for children. Some of these will help your child get clean at the same time, while others are purely for their amusement. While most of these ways of making bathing fun were developed with children in mind, they can easily be enjoyed by people of all ages who are looking to liven up their time spent in the bathtub. If you are new to the parenting game we have a guide on How to Adapt your Bathroom for Children.
One of the most widespread staples of bathtime for children and adults alike, bubbles serve two purposes. While bubble bath contains everything you need for a thorough clean, it also has the obvious benefit of producing bubbles. Bubbles themselves don't accomplish any particular function other than acting as the temporary decoration of your cleaning time, yet they provide plenty of opportunities for bathtime fun. The rolling, foamy hills offer a perfect snowy landscape for toys and bathers to explore. They also allow you to create some unique hairstyles and facial hair, which can be easily rinsed away when you want to return to your original appearance.
There are also a number of toys that create bubbles, such as a bubble blower, which is battery powered and will continually emit bubbles while active. Alternatively, older children can always blow bubbles themselves with a manual bubble blower in the waterproof environment of the bathroom, avoiding the risk of making a mess elsewhere in the house.
There are a number of toys that are perfect for bathtime. The trusty rubber duck is a familiar sight in any bathroom and can be purchased in a variety of sizes and colours to help you create your ideal raft of ducks. How many ducks you'll need will vary depending on how large your bathtub is, as well as your personal preference for duck density. Ducks are far from the only bath animals available, with water dwelling creatures such as crabs, starfish, turtles and even whales and (friendly) sharks to be found. Though they aren't known for their love of swimming, farm animals such as sheep, pigs and cows can also be introduced to your bathtub to create a more varied bath ecosystem.
Animals aren't the only toys that can be introduced into your bathtime. Boats are an obvious choice and can transform your bathtub into a maritime playground. There are plenty of toy boats designed for use in the bathtub but most boats of a reasonable size will be suitable, as long as they leave enough room for someone to join them. It's worth checking that your boat is actually waterproof before setting sail; you don't want to watch your beautifully constructed wooden ship as its sails disappear sadly beneath the waves of your bath. Battleships make an especially thrilling addition to your bathtub but smaller, friendlier boats are equally fine choices.
During bathtime, you needn't be restricted to the water's surface. A whole other world exists in the depths of your bath, and can be visited with the help of some swimming goggles. If you decide to venture into the murky deep of your bath, you're obviously limited by how long you can hold your breath. Make sure to be careful and don't spend longer underwater than you're comfortable with. If you'd prefer not to be limited by your lung capacity, you can always bring a trusty snorkel into the bath with you, allowing you to explore the underwater realm (just be sure to keep the tip of your snorkel above the surface to avoid a mouthful of bath water). You can search for all sorts of treasure underwater, though it might be best for parents to drop a few toys down ahead of time, to ensure there's actually something to find.
There are many finger paints that are specifically designed for use in the bathtub, allowing children to create all manner of fun designs and looks with the help of a mirror or an artistic parent. Painting while in the bath has the added benefit that paint will not end up smeared across your walls and carpets, usually an inevitable problem when children and paint are combined. When playtime is over, the paint is easily diluted and can be washed away with water of wiped with a flannel, making bath paints a fun and clean way of livening up any bathtime.
If your child needs a good scrubbing, there are plenty of adorable bath mitts that will let you clean them with their favourite character or animal. Animal mitts also double as puppets, letting you test your creativity by giving your child a personal puppet show. You'll usually be limited to two characters at a time, unless you involve your partner and increase your limit to four characters. Alternatively, finger puppets offer a full cast of ten characters, although this might pose too difficult a theatrical challenge for the majority of parents.