Get some fun into your every day routine with these sparky ideas to perk up the most mundane activities...
Bathtime fun: If bathtime ever begins to get tiresome, why not play hair dressers and use the suds from the baby shampoo to make fun hairstyles with your baby's hair! Show what they look like with a plastic mirror and see their reaction to looking like an alien!
Changing roles: why not encourage your little one to look after you for a while. Get them to cuddle you, wrap you in a blanket on a comfy chair, stroke your hand or forehead etc. Or, see if they will tuck you into bed for a pretend nap and sing you a bedtime song. They will love it!
Picture book: Look through old pictures and choose some to make a big family book full of family photos. You could add a collage and stick the pictures onto card and mount them with glue. Frame the collage and see how much fun you have naming all the relations and seeing how they are related to each other! You could set it out like a family tree!
Dinner time: Pretend you are in a restaurant and set out the table with a table cloth or a bunch of flowers. Pretend to take orders and bring in the food like a waitress. Don't forget the bill at the end!
In the old days, babies were bathed once a week in an old tin bath in front of the fire - if there were older brothers and sisters they may get the bath after everyone else had washed and so it was not a fun (or safe!) activity. Nowadays there are all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to entertain baby and keep them safe and bath time is often used as part of the bed time routine to lull baby into a restful sleep.
So, what do you need? Surely just a bath and a wash cloth! Not at all! There are some fabulous, new accessories that are worth a look at.
Bath toys can turn a fairly boring part of nighttime routine into a bit of an adventure - there are so many fun toys, games and ways to make bathtime interesting, why not treat your children to a new experience every few weeks?!
So you don't think there's room for doing craft in the bath? Wrong! Older children will love bath crayons which can be used for drawing on the inside of the bath. Rub them out after bath as otherwise they can be more difficult to remove, and if left too long, may stain permanently. Younger children will enjoy foam shapes, letters and numbers that adhere to the side of the bath when wet. All of these are widely available in toy shops.
Many more traditional toys allow children to play with water, experimenting with pouring, flowing and other properties. Bath toys can be quite expensive, so look at the value you think you'll get from the toy before buying. Well designed toys will teach children about the properties of flowing water, and of course, will offer hours of fun!
Bubbles and Potions
Children love bubbles, bath colourings and fizzy bath bombs or balls which you will find in most supermarkets and chemists. Do be aware that bubbles may dry your children's skin if they have sensitive skin so use a new formula with caution. You should find bubbles formulated for gentle skin but you may find even these aren't good for your little ones.
Your children may be more receptive to having their faces washed if they have fun flannels, and none are more fun than the magic expanding flannels that come as small dry blocks and unpack into full size flannels in water. These are widely available from toy shops and supermarkets, and make a great little stocking filler at Christmas time!
Today's children are spoiled for choice in the sheer array of bath toys on offer! Brighten up bathtime and have your children look forward to their evening dip, as much as anything, it will help make routine easier for you!
We're all used to keeping height measurements for our little ones, but how about something a bit more unusual - here's a great science experiment you can do at bathtime and log growth over time! How large are your toddlers lungs?!
Get hold of a plastic measuring jug (don't be tempted to use a glass jug) and a straw for bathtime. Bendy straws that bend towards one end are perfect for this experiment.
Fill the jug completely with water by submersing it in the bath. Now turn it upside down and slowly lift it out of the water until it is almost completely proud of the water level. You'll notice that pressure keeps the jug full of water even though the column of water rises higher than the water level in the bath. The only way that the water will fall is if you lift the rim of the jug above the water level, at which point the water will cascade out very quickly!
Get the jug to a position where it is filled with water and standing above the water level with the rim still just submerged. Take the straw and place it so that the one end of the straw is under the mouth of the jug with the other out of the water. If you have a 'bendy' straw, bend the end and point the short end up into the jug, and hold the long end clear of the water.
Have your children take a deep breath in and then blow as much air as they can from their lungs into the straw. Younger children may need to practice a bit to master the technique of blowing out fully.
The air blown out will displace the water in the jug and when they are done, you can read off the measurement on the side of the jug to tell the volume of air displaced. Teach older children how to read the quantity by looking at the scale on the side of the jug. You'll be quite surprised at just how much air they can hold! Take a note of measurements and repeat it every couple of months to see how your little ones are growing!
Babies love baths, toddlers love to splash in water and pre-schoolers enjoy getting bubbly - or so you may think...but some toddlers suddenly develop a fear or dislike of getting wet. They may scream, kick and shout or refuse to sit up propely making it dangerous for them, and irritating for you trying to get them clean after a day of having fun.
But, what's the answer? What can be done to avoid you having the grubbiest toddler in town?
The first thing to understand is that you cannot stop a child being afraid of water, not if they really are afraid and are not just making a fuss for the sheer delight of seeing you get angry. So if you think they have genuinely developped a fear of water, don't worry, just give them a good wash before bed and that will do.
You may never even find out why your child has become scared of having bath but if it happens you need to accept it. There is no point thinking it is irrational and silly. If you are tempted to make little of it or say they are being ridiculous, then perhaps you should remember some fear (rational or not!) that you may have. Scared of spiders (who are tiny and harmless!)? Afraid of snakes (that don't even live in this country!)? We need to treat any child's fear the same as we treat our own.
Most toddler fears will pass and be forgotten if they are handled tactfully. Stay calm and just try to help your toddler through!
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