The Benefits of Water Play at Bathtime

water play at bathtime

Water play is a great way for babies to learn and develop skills. Read our tips from experts discussing the benefits of water play at bathtime.

What is water play?

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Babbu once more, to bring you some expert tips on how to make the most of water play at bathtime. But what exactly is water play, and why is it so important for early learning? Babbu told us:

“Water play, whether indoors or out, can foster cognitive development, teach mathematics and scientific concepts, enhance physical skills, promote social learning and cooperative effort, and enrich language experiences.

Water play is an open-ended activity that will allow your little ones to express themselves by playing freely. Adding some cups, buckets, spoons or ladles, will develop visual motor skills like filling and pouring. 

Filling, scooping and pouring activities help develop fine motor skills as well as using math concepts such as less and more. This activity will help your baby coordinate their hand movements with what they are seeing and feeling.”

Helping your baby understand the world

Starting to understand the world around us is an essential part of development and there are so many ways that you can help your baby to do this. We’re all continually learning- we don’t ever stop!- but for babies, the learning leaps can be huge!

We asked Babbu how bathtime can be used as an opportunity to help develop essential skills for your little ones:

water play at bathtime

“Different objects sink or float in the water due to the amount of oxygen in the object. Being in the bath is a perfect way for your little one to begin to understand this and develop the cognitive skill of cause and effect. This means that they  begin to learn that they can manipulate the world around them and have an outcome.

The introduction of numerous sinking or floating objects that you decide to use will aid in their language development e.g. block, spoon, box, cup, container, bottle, cork etc. Your child will also exercise abilities like organisation, focus, coordination, and independence. Additionally, it will aid in the growth of their fine motor abilities, including hand-eye coordination.

When splashing and dropping objects in the water, your child will be able to experiment with a variety of media while engaging in whole-body movement. Your youngster will be able to investigate texture and weight, making it a fun and engaging multi-sensory experience for them!”

Early Einstein!

There are loads of everyday items around the house that can be used in your water play at bathtime. Babbu has some great suggestions:

Spare shampoo bottles? Don’t throw them away, keep them for your little one to play with!

water play at bathtime

Pouring and transferring water is a great way for your little one to learn early mathematical concepts. For example, weight, shape and size. How? When the bottles become filled up with water, your little one will begin to realise that the bottles become heavier, and that smaller bottles are lighter than the larger ones. If you don’t have shampoo bottles, you could use plastic containers from the kitchen cupboard.

Sponges are also great for their physical development, particularly the refinement of their fine motor skills. These skills include opening and closing their fists to squeeze the water out.”


Bathtime’s a great opportunity for teaching social skills too:

During bath time, observe your youngster playing with their boat for a few minutes before asking if you can have a turn.

Prompt them to take a turn or trade them for another toy. Start playing with a different toy later on, and when they become interested and begin to point or ask for it, say something like, "Your turn!" so they can see sharing modelled for them.”

About Babbu:

Babbu is the UK’s first online nursery™; designed to support, reassure and empower parents and their children in the first critical few years. Our activities respect children’s individuality allowing them to be true to themselves, help develop their respect for others, the community and the environment. We provide tailored educational activities and content to support parents, at home – our aim is to make Early Years Education easy, accessible and fun.”

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