12 Easy Activities to Make Bath Time Great for Baby’s Body and Mind (2023)

We all know how much fun bath time can be for our babies (especially with an Otteroo!) and how essential it is to keep them clean and healthy. But did you know that this daily ritual is also packed with early development and learning opportunities? Here are 12 things you can do to make bath time fun and developmentally beneficial for your baby!

1. Bath time is great for multi-sensory exploration.

Water is one of the best learning tools for your baby to discover her different senses. While most of her day is spent snug and dry, bath time offers your baby a smorgasbord of sensory stimuli to enjoy. Play with her in the tub and instead of just watching, try pointing out what she’s experiencing, such as feeling water’s liquid state and temperature, hearing water splish-splash with a slap, seeing its transparent and nearly colorless state, seeing things float up, and smelling its odorless scent.

2. Bath time builds fine motor and early math skills.

While it may seem odd, a favorite pastime for babies is filling and pouring water into cups because it’s actually fascinating to them. This simple action can help your child gain fundamental skills, including dexterity, hand-eye coordination, cause and effect, and even early math as she explores water volume and learn numerical terms, such as more, less, empty and full!1 Just give your baby a variety of small plastic cups to experiment with and she’ll be scooping and pouring in no time.

3. Bath time builds parent-child relationships.

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Because parents spend most of their time working, cooking, cleaning, and running back and forth between errands and appointments, it’s easy to miss spending true quality time with their children during the course of the day. But with bath time, parents are forced to slow down and pay full attention to their babies in the tub. With bath time being the only tech-free time of day, be sure to have real face time and deep conversations with your baby to support her vocabulary development and attachment and trust with you.

4. Bath time enhances sleep.

Research studies have found that bath time can be used effectively as a destressing time of day to reduce your baby’s cortisol levels, helping her relax and prepare herself for a good night’s sleep.2 This is especially true for warm scented baths!3 Try setting your baby’s bath to a warm, comfortable temperature and add a few drops of lavender oil to the water (but be aware of any skin allergies she may have). Place your baby into her aromatherapy bath and give her a nice massage by stroking her legs, shoulders, neck, tummy, arms in circular movements.

5. Bath time supports visual tracking and hand-eye coordination.

What baby doesn’t LOVE bubbles, especially during bath time!? For younger infants, simply blow bubbles across their field of vision to help support important visual tracking skills.4 Have an older baby? No problem! Try blowing bubbles above the tub and encourage your baby to build her hand-eye coordination by chasing after the bubbles.4 When she sees one in sight…get ready…aim…and pop the bubble with a finger poke!

6. Bath time builds hand and finger strength.

Water play with sponges is a fantastic way to help your baby develop her fine motor skills as she learns to squeeze water from a sponge or water toy.5 Offer your baby a variety of sponges to squeeze and play with, but be sure to make them small enough for her little hands to handle and use successfully. For a greater challenge, invite her to aim and squeeze water into small cups as she increases her small muscle strength and dexterity.

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7. Bath time music develops cognitive and language skills.

Young children not only love to learn through music, but their brain connections are also strongly supported by it.6 In particular, singing during bath time can help your baby have fun as she practices her speaking skills singing along to nursery rhymes while acquiring new knowledge and vocabulary. Check out some favorite bath time songs, including Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes; and Five Little Ducks.

8. Bath time develops foundations for art and creativity.

Creative art is an important play activity that can enhance your baby’s imagination and creative juices, as well as develop her ability to self-express. If your baby is 24 months and older, provide her with some non-toxic bath paints to play with during bath time and encourage her to finger paint onto the wall of the tub, paint with thick handle paint brushes, and experiment with mixing new colors! Don’t have bath paints handy? Try coloring water by adding food color into clear water cups.

9. Bath time nurtures practical life skills.

After painting the walls of your tub, hand your baby a small wash cloth or sponge to clean the paint off! This activity will not only support her dexterity and small muscle skills, but it will nurture her self-help abilities to clean up after herself as well!

10. Bath time is great for pretend play and role playing.

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Young children learn a lot about the world through social interactions and believe it or not, pretend play.7 Give your baby her own plastic baby to wash and care for during bath time. By make believing she is mommy, she can learn how to care for another person, family roles, bathing routine, and even body parts!

11. Bath time supports construction and science discovery.

Did you know that your baby can be a scientist in the tub? Yes, she can! Just give her some foam shapes to play with and you’ll see her learn how to effectively stick the foam pieces onto the wall of the tub. Or encourage her to stack and build a tower using floating foam blocks during bath time. Through trial and error, she’ll soon learn that her foam shapes need water as an adhesive to stick to the tub and to build her tower foundation with a wider more stable base to keep it afloat in the water.

12. Bath time helps with self-regulation and independence.

Young children like and need daily routines because it gives them a sense of control and understanding of what’s going to happen to them next.8 Knowing that bath time is part of her daily routine will help your baby develop a sense of security knowing when to take a bath and how she can help herself in the tub. In addition to these social emotional benefits, your baby will also begin to develop a sense of time and understand the sequence of actions. So be sure to keep bath time regular and predictable!



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1 Crosser, S.(1994, July). Making the most of water play. Young Children, 28-32.

2 Mindell, J., Lorena, S., Telofski, B. A., & Kurtz, E. S. (2009). A Nightly Bedtime Routine: Impact on Sleep in Young Children and Maternal Mood. Sleep, 32(5), 599–606.

3 Field, T., Cullen, C., Largie, S., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (2008). Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants. Early Human Development, 84(6), 399-401.

4 Play Reminders. Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.clel.org/play-reminders.

5 Hendrick, J. (1996). The Whole Child: Developmental Education for the Early Years. Columbus, OH: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

6 Carlton, E. B. (2000, May/June). Learning Through Music: The Support of Brain Research.Child Care Exchange, 133, 53-56. Retrieved fromhttps://ccie-catalog.s3.amazonaws.com/library/5013353.pdf.

7 Lillard, A.S., Lerner, M. D., Hopkins, E. J., Dore, R. A., Smith, E. D., & Palmquist, C. M. (2013). The Impact of Pretend Play on Children’s Development: A Review of the Evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 139(1), 1–34. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/bul-a0029321.pdf.

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8 Why Kids Need Routine. AHA Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/family-life/structure-routines.


What are 3 important things to remember when bathing a baby? ›

It is important to follow these safety rules when bathing your baby:
  • Keep the room warm so your baby does not get cold. ...
  • Keep water around 100° Fahrenheit (F) or 37.8° Celsius (C). ...
  • Set water heaters at 120°F (48.9°C) to prevent burns.
  • Keep one hand on your baby at all times.

What is the most important rule to remember when bathing a baby? ›

Remember that newborns don't need a bath more than about three times per week. Safety should be the top priority when it comes to bathing your little one. Choose a safe bathing location, use a small amount of mild soap, keep the water warm, and most importantly, never take your eyes off your baby in the tub.

How do babies learn or develop during bath time? ›

Sensory Development

Much like clothes-free playtime, bath time gives your child's tactile sense a lot of attention, from feeling the water on her skin, learning to distinguish different temperatures, and being touched while you wash and dry her. The tub is also a great place to do our “Floating Toys” sensory activity.

How can I make my bath time better? ›

8 Tips to Creating the Perfect Bath Experience
  1. Set the mood. Start by lighting a couple of your favorite candles and gather all your bathing essentials in one spot. ...
  2. Make sure the temperature is right. ...
  3. Detoxify. ...
  4. Supplement your soak. ...
  5. Always double fist. ...
  6. The right read. ...
  7. Mask yourself. ...
  8. End on a good note.
Jan 25, 2018

How do you make a sensory bath? ›

How to Make Bath Time a Sensory Experience
  1. Waterfall Station. Adding cups and small buckets to the tub can turn a regular bath into a water toy game. ...
  2. Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles! Add some bubbles to the bath for a special treat. ...
  3. Who Says Bath and Books Don't Mix? ...
  4. Splash of Something New. ...
  5. Sponge Fun. ...
  6. Salon Ready.

How do you give a baby a bath step by step? ›

Baby bath time: step by step
  1. Put a non-slip bath mat on the bathroom floor and one in the bath.
  2. Fill the bath with just enough water to wash your baby. ...
  3. Use warm (not hot) water, about 37°C or 38°C. ...
  4. Briefly run cold water through the tap.
  5. Gently lower your baby into the bath, keeping a hand on your baby at all times.
Dec 17, 2020

What is the best way to bathe a baby? ›

Lower your baby gently into the bowl or bath using one hand to hold their upper arm and support their head and shoulders. Then use the other hand to gently swish the water over your baby without splashing. Keep your baby's head clear of the water. Never leave your baby alone in the bath, not even for a second.

What are the two most important principles of bathing a newborn? ›

Babies should not be placed in water for a bath until the umbilical cord has fallen off. Give your baby a sponge bath using a soft wash cloth and gentle soap until the umbilical cord has fallen off. During bath time, never leave your baby alone, not even for a few seconds.

What are the do's and don'ts in bathing a baby? ›

Don't: Don't put any products like washing liquid in your clean water. Just warm water is enough to keep your baby clean from day to day. Do: Top and tail your newborn baby on a changing mat, always. Ideally, you can place the changing mat on the floor, to avoid the risk of your baby rolling over.

Why is it important to bathe a baby? ›

It protects baby from bacteria and germs, and helps her body hold a normal temperature. Use these research-based tips from the nurse experts of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to help keep your baby's skin healthy, beautiful and soft.

What do children learn from bathing babies? ›

​This experience allows children to explore conversation and social skills through sociodramatic play. This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual child/group level.

Why is bath time important for children? ›

Bath time is a great opportunity for parents, siblings and infants to bond, play and develop relationships. Baths also provide babies with a rich sensory environment: the feel of the water and another person's touch; the smell of their surroundings; the sound of the parents' and siblings' voices, and splashing.

How do you make a shower fun for kids? ›

Toys and Gadgets

Don't shy away from stocking your shower space with a rubber duck, a scuba action man, or any other bathroom-friendly toys you can find. If a child finds water or showering unpleasant or uncomfortable, a little in-shower entertainment will likely go a long way!

Which bath time is best? ›

Taking a bath between 4 am and 5 am is termed Munisnanam or the ablution of the saints. It is considered the most ideal time for washing yourself. A bath during this time enables you to enjoy pleasure, good health, immunity from diseases, sharp intellect and concentration.

How can I make my bath less boring? ›

Boring to Beautiful: 6 Tips for Restyling Your Bathroom
  1. Opt for an arresting color scheme. Take a hard look at the walls in your bath. ...
  2. Dress the walls with fabulous art. ...
  3. Add interesting arrangements of accessories. ...
  4. Finish out with furniture. ...
  5. Create a mood with ambient light. ...
  6. Make practical pieces pretty.
Feb 3, 2014

What is a calming bath? ›

Taking a bath in water that's a neutral temperature—meaning that it's similar to the temperature of the human body, or around 94-98°F—can be beneficial before bed. "This can provide a relaxing effect on the nervous system of the body," Marbach says.

What is a soothing bath? ›

Taking a sea salt bath can help you relax, ease achy muscles, stimulate circulation, and calm irritated skin. Soaking in a sea salt bath before bed… Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, that when made into a bath, can soothe the skin.

What do you use for baby's first bath? ›

Gather your supplies.

The essentials include baby soap and shampoo, cotton washcloths, cotton balls, a plush towel or two, and a plastic basin. You may also want a new diaper, a set of clean clothes and diaper ointment or cream for after the bath.

What is the white stuff on baby girl private area? ›

Newborn girls will often still have vernix (the white sticky coating on the skin) still in the vulva between the labia. Do not try to scrub this coating out; it will gradually dry up and come off when you wipe with diaper changes.

How do you clean a newborn girl's private part? ›

To clean your baby's labia, wet a cotton ball with warm water, hold your baby's legs apart and wipe between the labia with the cotton ball. Start at the front and gently wipe backwards. Use a new cotton ball if you need to wipe again. Dry your baby's genital area by gently patting with a soft towel.

How often do you bathe a baby? ›

How often does my newborn need a bath? There's no need to give your newborn baby a bath every day. Three times a week might be enough until your baby becomes more mobile. Bathing your baby too much can dry out your baby's skin.

Do you rinse off baby after bath? ›

Rinse well to get rid of all the shampoo. Pat his or her face and head dry before you continue with the bath. Wash the rest of your baby's body.

Is it OK for water to go in baby's ears? ›

So, can water enter a baby's ears without need for concern? The short answer is, yes, it is completely safe to submerge your baby's ears underwater! It is common for people to avoid getting water in their baby's ears to avoid ear infection, however, ear infections prone to infants are not caused by water from swimming.

What time of day is best to bathe a newborn? ›

You can bathe your baby anytime in the day that is convenient and practical for you. Just make sure you choose a time when your baby is well rested and not hungry. Traditionally, babies were given a bath before sunrise or early in the morning.

What to avoid in baby bath? ›

Parabens, Talc, Sulphates, Propylene, Glycol and DEA are just some of the known toxic ingredients commonly used in baby bath, skin & hair care products and also in baby wipes and nappy change creams.

What causes baby acne? ›

Newborns still have many maternal hormones circulating in their system in the first few weeks following birth. These hormones can cause pimples to develop on the face (chin, cheeks, forehead and eyelids, for example). It's not uncommon to see baby acne on the chest, neck or back, too.

What temp should bath be for baby? ›

What is the ideal baby bath temperature? A baby's bath temperature should be 98.6–100.4°F (37–38°C). Babies have thinner skin, so they need cooler bathwater than adults. A caregiver can check the temperature with their elbow or a water thermometer.

Why do babies cry after bath? ›

Have no fear! If your baby is always fussy at the end of bath time, it could be due to the temperature difference between the water and air as they get out. Try heating up a towel in the dryer so your baby is more cozy getting out of the water. Then snuggle and play to make this a special time for your baby.

What are the three main purposes of bathing? ›

Bathing remove dirt, perspiration, sebum, some bacteria, and slough off dead skin cells. It helps to prevent irritations and rashes that would otherwise transform into infections. Stimulate blood circulation. Good circulation is promoted through the use of warm water and gentle stroking of the extremities.

Why is it important to bath? ›

Bathing cleans your skin, helping you avoid irritation, inflammation and sores caused by dead skin cell accumulation. The bacterial and fungal load from contact in your environment can also accumulate, increasing the risk of infection.”

What do I do if my baby doesn't like bath time? ›

Parents say: What to do if your baby hates baths
  1. Bathe only when fed and well-rested.
  2. Try a bath pillow.
  3. Transition gradually to the baby tub.
  4. Forget the tub for now.
  5. Distract your baby with songs and conversation.
  6. Mind the air and water temperature.
  7. Try a shower.
  8. Stick to a routine.

At what age do babies start enjoying baths? ›

If your baby doesn't like baths, give them a 'top and tail' bath one day and a proper bath the next. Generally, babies get used to baths by around three months.

How do I make bath time less traumatic for my newborn? ›

Warm the Bathroom Up First

You can warm the bathroom up before you even get started so that the transition into the room is effortless. There are two ways you could go about it. First, you could take a shower or bath yourself. Or you could use a small space heater, safely away from the tub, sink or water sources.

What age should babies bath everyday? ›

In the first year of your baby's life, you really only need to bathe them once or twice per week. Start with sponge baths until their umbilical stump falls off and then begin bathing them gently in the sink or tub. As they grow, babies may require more frequent baths as they get messier or start having fun in the tub.

Is it okay to let my baby cry while I shower? ›

(It's fine to let your newborn cry for a few minutes while you rinse off, as long as they're safe.

Why do babies cry when bathed? ›

Crying directly after birth

When babies are delivered, they are exposed to cold air and a new environment, so that often makes them cry right away. This cry will expand the baby's lungs and expel amniotic fluid and mucus. The baby's first official cry shows that the lungs are working properly.

Why do baths calm babies? ›

Few activities can be as soothing as taking a bath—and that's especially true for little ones. After coming out of a warm bath, a baby's body temperature starts to cool, which can help your infant fall asleep more easily.

What are the benefits of bathing baby daily? ›

It protects baby from bacteria and germs, and helps her body hold a normal temperature. Use these research-based tips from the nurse experts of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to help keep your baby's skin healthy, beautiful and soft.

Do you need to rinse off baby soap? ›

Use the washcloth and baby soap to gently clean your baby. Don't forget to clean between your baby's fingers and toes. Make sure to rinse off any soap after cleaning.

How many hours should be delayed the baby from bathing? ›

While most institutions used to bathe babies within an hour or two of birth, many are changing their policies. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying baby's first bath until 24 hours after birth—or waiting at least 6 hours if a full day isn't possible for cultural reasons.

How often should a woman shower? ›

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Many doctors say a daily shower is fine for most people. (More than that could start to cause skin problems.) But for many people, two to three times a week is enough and may be even better to maintain good health.

How often should a 7 year old shower? ›

Children ages 6 to 11: Guidelines for bathing

If your child is in this age group, taking a daily bath is fine. However, children in this age group may not need a daily bath. Children aged 6 to 11 need a bath: At least once or twice a week.


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