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Bathtub Water Play

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In addition to stretching out bath time, themed water play can easily be done with so many random objects you have in your home. Try this fun activity with your child today.



  • A bathtub, bin, or water table
  • Water
  • An assortment of items for your theme, such as toys, recycled containers, and items for building (For our Valentine’s Day bath, I collected all the red and pink toys I could find in our home that I was comfortable letting get wet.)
  • Decorations, such as food coloring to color the water, streamers to hang around the bathtub, or even glitter
  • One or two sensory items—shaving cream for bathtub play, sand for the water table, or ice cubes for either one



  1. Get your bath or table all set up. Add the water, color it, hang any decorations, and set out the items you’ve gathered.
  2. Call the kids, and let them explore!
  3. When they’re done, enlist their help in cleanup, which is easier if they are already in the bathtub.


Additional Options

  • If the weather is warm, expand these themed play ideas to the neighborhood with a large, blow-up kiddie pool.
  • Children who are fascinated with how things work tend to enjoy playing with man-made manipulations of water. Turn this play into engineering fun by adding materials to help the kids make dams, diversions, and more with the water in a shallow water table.
  • If you’re using a water table, look for opportunities to loop science into this activity. Add dirt, sand, and plants (real or fake) to help make a model and show older children the basics of the hydrological cycle. Add ice, and talk about glacial science. Make a sandy beach, and talk about waves. The options to include science are really endless.


Material from Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You'll Actually Enjoy by Rebecca Green (pages 56-7), ISBN 978-0-87659-345-5.

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