Messy Play Ideas WITHOUT the Clean Up

Messy Play Podcast


    What better way to make bath time amazing than by adding some bubbles to the bath. They are a great sensory experience for children and they help getting rid of the dirt a little easier- especially on your toddlers! It's also a great opportunity to teach your baby to blow. They love watching the bubbles fall like snow.

    bath time bubbles


    Making up some ‘paint’ for bath time is always a fun one. It's really easy too.

    bath painting activity

    Simply pop conditioner into an ice tray and a drop of food colouring into each cube (you can do different ones in each) and then let them paint with it in the bath. Use as finger paints while the bath water is low so they have the sides of the bath as a canvas. Encouraging big circular movements and making shapes where they cross the midline of their body can be really helpful to practice with older toddlers.

    bath time fun


    Having a cup with holes in the bottom can become a “rain maker” to sprinkle water gently on their hair and tummy.

    Glow in the dark

    If they are old enough, turning off the lights in the bathroom and just having sealed glow sticks or glow in the dark stars in the bottom of the bath can become an amazing sensory experience.

    Explore squishy and smooth

    Giving them different textures to feel like sponges, rubber toys, plastic cups and slotted spoons. Finding some float and some sink.


    Children love singing and it settles them especially after a long, busy day. Songs and rhymes are a great way to reinforce new things that they are learning about like colour, shapes or body parts. Songs like “head-shoulders” or “the colours of the rainbow” are fab ways to use up a bit of time in the bath. Row, row your boat is a great rhyme. 


    An easy one is to play make believe games with bath toys. My son always loved wild animals bathing in the jungle with him. 

    When looking for toys for the bath try to get ones that are sealed so they do not hold extra water and grow mold inside them.

    bath toys

    Each day you could make up a silly story to act out with some of the bath toys to help develop your child’s language.  

    Play a game. Can you find the…? And get them to find the different objects to pass to you. 

    Give them cups of different sizes and encourage them to pour from one to the other “this one is half full”, “that one is overflowing” “which one is empty?”


    As much as this doesn't sound like fun- in order for bath time to be fun, you don't want a child to get over stimulated. So make it a fun time but not drag on. 

    As they get older they can bath for longer but from about 6 months (when they start to interact in the bath properly and begin sitting) try to limit it to 15 minutes or follow baby's cues and avoid trying to dress a feisty tiger after the bath. 

    To avoid the tantrums follow the same routine each time so it is predictable - “let’s scoop up the toys, 1-2-3 out of the bath we go”. Then dry off. A quick baby massage after bath time can be a great way to wind down.


    Always be present when bathing your little one. Our days are so busy but taking the time out to just enjoy it with your baby is really so worthwhile. Try keeping eye contact and physical touch, like having your hand in the bath water splashing or pouring water on their tummy. 

    making bath time educational

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