How many of you out there dread the crying and screaming that is bath time? Why in the world can it be so darn hard to get your little one to bathe? It’s a mystery. For most of us adults, washing away the daily grime is a daily indulgence. (Especially when you have a luxuriously spacious seamless shower to bathe in.)

But for the little ones among us who need a bit more convincing to get in the tub, we bring to you our secret weapon – FUN!

Make bath time fun and suddenly your little one will be clambering to get clean. The following games, toys, and activities are all simple ways to introduce engaging (and sometimes educational) elements to your bathtub routine. 

Colored Ice Cubes

Colored ice cubes are a fun way to brighten up the water. Made with natural food coloring and vegetable dies, you can simply drop them into the water and watch as your little one chases them while the melt. Don’t have ice cube trays? Take a cue from Amanda from Messy Motherhood and put your muffin tins to work. The large ice cubes will take longer to melt, meaning

Fish for ABCs

Want to help your child get a jump start on his or her ABCs? Attach a magnet to the end of a small fishing pole. Drop some magnetic ABC letters in the tub. Then invite them to, ‘Go Fish!”

Bathe Under the Stars

Use glow-in-the-dark star stickers to create the constellations on the ceiling. At bath time, turn down the lights and watch as the sky lights up. Teach your little one about the constellations. If you bathe prior to bedtime, this can be a particularly good idea. The low-light setting will also help calm your child, getting them ready to go to sleep.

Hatch a Dinosaur!

Homemade bath bombs are relatively easy to make and tons of fun to use. As you form them, hide a small plastic dinosaur at the center. As the bomb dissolves, a dinosaur will ‘hatch’ from the inside. This fabulous tutorial from Asia from Fun at Home with Kids breaks down the how-to in simple to follow steps.

Your kids don’t like dinosaurs? These can be stuffed with LEGOS or other mini-plastic figurines.

Foam Party

No, we’re not talking about dancing around in bubbles. Though, that would be pretty cool. We’re talking about craft foam. This idea comes from the folks at Apartment Therapy. They really are a creative bunch! You can buy craft foam at your local craft store and cut it into any shapes you want. Then, your kid can mix and match the shapes on the bathtub wall to make figures.

I-Spy Bathtub Style

Playing I-Spy in the bathtub isn’t any different than playing I-Spy in the car or in a park. Toss the bathtub toys you already have throughout the tub. Don’t forget your ABC letters and craft foam. Those will work too. Then, take turns guessing what the other ‘spies.’

Noodle Bowl

Add pool noodles to the bathtub. While the tub isn’t crazy deep, it’d typically deep enough for a child to have some fun trying to float aboard a few noodles.

Balloon Party

Turn bath time into a balloon party. All it takes is a few balloons. Blow them up and add them to the water. This is a particularly great way to celebrate a birthday. To make it extra special, you might consider adding some sparkles to the inside of the balloons before you blow them up.

Racetrack Bathtub

Have a kind who loves racecars? Embrace that fact. Turn the bathtub into a racetrack. Samantha from Stir the Wonderful, explains how craft foam (referenced above) and permanent marker can allow you to quickly create road signs. Get these wet. Stick them around the tub’s edge. And, give your kid a few water-friendly cars. They’ll be zoom-zoom-zooming through the bubbles in no time!

‘Ice Fishing’

Taking a cue from the colored ice cubes, consider freezing a few of your kid’s favorite water-safe toys in blocks of ice. They’ll get to push the blocks around and encourage them to melt.

Insider Tip: Expecting some exceptionally hot spring and summer days? These frozen toys can also be a fun addition to outdoor kiddie- pools.

Want more ideas for bath time fun? Check back later this week for round two of games, toys, and activities!