This week I will be doing my first 5-day series where I post for 5 straight days on a specific topic. To kick it off, I will be sharing 5 days worth of tips and tricks that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to boost your toddler’s language skills!
Today I’d like to talk about bathtime activities.
Bathtime is a great time to work on language skills because most toddlers love taking baths! Use that positive experience to your advantage by engaging in some fun, interactive activities targeting specific language skills.
1. Bubble Bath
A bath isn’t a bath without some bubbles right?! There are so many things you can do with bubbles such as:
- Talk about the size and shape of the bubbles
- Talk about where the bubbles are (i.e. on your head, on your nose, between your fingers, etc.)
- Cup the bubbles in your hands and wait for your child to say “blow!” and then blow the bubbles.
- Pop the bubbles while repeating a target phrase that is slightly above your child’s current language stage. For kids who aren’t talking yet, you might just say “pop, pop, pop!” but for kids who are speaking at the single word level you might say, “pop the bubble!”
Everyone’s voice sounds great in the shower/tub, so start belting it out! Singing the same few songs over and over during bathtime is actually a great tool for language building. It helps them learn new words and sentence structures. Here are some strategies you can use to make this special bonding time a learning experience:
- Sing Slowly: Sing at a slower pace so your child can really hear each word and learn the actions that go with it.
- Stop and Wait: Help your toddler participate by pausing at key parts of the song and letting him fill in the blank. The best place to stop is at the end of a line. “Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you _______.” When you get to the pause, look expectantly at your child so it cues him to talk. If he doesn’t want to participate, just fill in the word for him and move on.
- Act it Out: Find songs that have actions that go along with them such as The Wheels on the Bus or The Itsy Bitsy Spider. If he can’t do the motions by himself (or doesn’t know how), provide some assistance by putting your hands over his and moving them for him.
3. Treasure Hunt
Toss a bunch of small, water-friendly toys into the tub and tell your toddler which “treasure” they need to find. Once they find the object, ask them what they found and prompt the phrase “I found the _______.” You could then take it a step further and expand that sentence. So it might sound like, “Yes, you found the boat! The boat is big and blue!”
4. Ocean Adventure
Spark your toddler’s imagination with make-believe water play. You can get some cute little ocean characters here and use them to act out fun ocean adventures! This is a great way to dive into (pun intended) social language skills as you can have the characters greet each other and engage in little conversations.
5. Pouring Station
You don’t have to spend a fortune on bath toys in order for your toddler to have fun. Grab some measuring cups, bowls, cups, spoons, and whatever else you find lying around the house and create a pouring station! Narrate while your child plays with the items, “you are pouring water on your head!”
Encourage your toddler to communicate by filling your cup with water and then pausing before you actually pour anything out. Model your expectation, “pour the water!” for them and then prompt them to say it themselves, “pour the _____”. Ideally, they will fill in that blank for you, but if they don’t, no big deal. Continue with lots of models and pausing to invite communication and they will catch on eventually!
There Ya Go!
Engaging your toddler in these 5 quick and easy activities will make bathtime a little more strategic so real language learning can take place.
This is day 4 of the 5 Days of Speech and Language Tips series.
Tell me about some fun things you and your toddler do during bathtime!