Scrub-A-Dub-Dub, Early Language in the Tub

early language opportunities in the tub

Bath time is a great opportunity for caregivers to spend one-on-one time with their children and use language-enriching strategies at the same time. While time in the tub can be filled with activities, it typically has fewer distractions than time outside or in a designated playroom, making it easier to focus on early language opportunities. Not only will these activities promote language, but they will make bath time fun for everyone! 

  • Place smaller bath toys on the edge of the bathtub and “pop” them into the water. You can also use exclamatory words like “uh oh,” “woah,” and “oh no” as they fall into the water. Encourage the use of “more” if your child wants you to pop the toys into the water again.

  • You can use bathtub toys that squirt water to enrich early language as well. Encourage your child to wait while the toy fills up underwater using the phrase “wait, wait, full.” Waiting is a great skill that allows children to demonstrate less frustration and to learn language skills more readily. Then model the phrase “ready, set, go!” before squirting water out of the toy.

  • Animal bathtub toys can be very motivating for children. You can model animal sounds with each toy as your child shows interest in them. You can also work on verbs with animal toys. Verbs like splash, jump, fly, swim, flip, spin, fall, crash, boom, spray, and more are easy to model with animal or other character toys during bath time.

  • Bucket toys can be messy in the tub but are a great way to work on language. You can fill up a bucket and dump water out using the utterance “up, up,  down!” You can also dump water out on your child and encourage learning of body parts. For example, say “water on your head” and pour water on their head.

    For more information on language comprehension benchmarks, you can download our developmental milestone checklist here!

    Written by Michelle Konecki, M.S., CF-SLP

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