4 Ways to Add Literacy Learning to Bath Time

Help your kids soak up the learning possibilities during their next bath time with these fun ideas.

By Jodie Rodriguez
Mar 15, 2018




Mar 15, 2018

Capitalize on the captive audience you have when your kids are taking a bath. It is a great time to make a literacy learning a splash with babies and preschoolers. Here are some simple ideas to get you started.

1. Reading in the Tub

There are several ways to enjoy books in the tub. Waterproof books made for bath time can be submerged over and over without causing damage to the pages. Little ones will delight in listening to you read or they can pretend to read to themselves. Both Barnyard Bath! by Sandra Boynton and The Rainbow Fish Bath Book by Marcus Pfister are a few titles that can help you introduce reading in the tub.

Listening to audiobooks is another way to rack up some reading minutes. As long as you keep the electronic device far from the tub, you can listen until the last drop of water drips down the drain.

2. Writing in the Tub

With the invention of bathtub crayons and bathtub finger paint, your children can now write in the tub too. This writing practice helps to strengthen hand muscles needed for holding a pencil, and it provides letter formation practice for older kids as well.

Encourage your kids to make marks and draw pictures. Older learners may write their name, label their pictures, or practice sight words and spelling lists. My kids even like when I draw a letter on their back and they have to guess the letter that was drawn.

3. Singing in the Tub

I know my own singing always sounds better in the shower or tub. Singing with your kids is a wonderful way to build vocabulary, model fluency, and practice rhyming.

Sing songs you remember singing to your kids as babies. They will love being immersed in these familiar songs and your voice, and nursery rhymes enhance rhyming skills. There are plenty of songs that you can stream on an electronic device that teach about letters and sounds. A few of our favorites include "Elmo's Rap Alphabet" by Sesame Street, "Old McDonald Had Some Vowels" by The Kiboomers, and "Apples and Bananas" by Raffi.

4. Playing in the Tub

Besides just being plain fun, playing with the toys in the tub can also boost language skills. Bathtubs toys provide an opportunity to work on positional words with kids. Ask your kids to place the rubber duck or another waterproof toy on top of the faucet, under the water, or next to the soap. 

Children can also practice their storytelling skills using their bathtub toys as props. My own kids have come up with some very elaborate tales in the tub. They sometimes even utilize a setting of a story they have drawn with bathtub crayons.

Foam alphabet letters are also a fun learning tool to add to water play. You can float the letters on top of the water, call out a letter, and have the kids find it. Older children can utilize the letters to spell words on the sides of the tub.

Try adding a few toys and tools to the next bath time experience. You will appreciate those extra little pockets of literacy fun added to your kids’ day.

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at Growing Book by Book.

Featured Photo Credit: © Kate Mitchell/Getty Images

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Age 1
Age 2
Language Arts
Alphabet Recognition
Word Recognition