Does your bathroom feel like a mini-splash park sometimes? Do you need toilet locks, knob covers, and a closed door to deter the children? The bathroom is a mysterious and, therefore, fascinating place. Every mom has had to replace the soggy toilet paper roll, and if you haven't, you will. We can tap into our children's natural instincts and make the bathroom a fun and educational place while still getting clean in the process.
Most children are naturally curious about water and enjoy splashing in it and feeling the cool drops on their skin. They may not want to be drenched or have it poured over their heads, but we can always work up to that.
Start with the sink -- Fill the sink half full of water and bring a step stool to the counter. You can float paper boats in the sink or play with wind-up swimming frogs, turtles and fish. When they are done playing, hand them a wash cloth and let them wipe down the counter. Getting them involved in this simple chore is great practice for when they start spilling toothpaste and other assorted messes in the bathroom.
Make the tub a science experiment -- Use colored bath tabs or a small amount of food coloring to change the water. Experiment with color mixing such as "How much yellow will we need to make the blue water green?" Kids love to have an extraordinary bath. You can also color to the bath water ahead of time, and add bubbles so that the color will be a surprise when they get past the bubbles. Another fun experiment is "What floats?" Pick a variety of water safe toys and let your kids make predictions about what will float or sink. Have them hold it, shake it, and feel it before dropping it in the water.
Party in the tub -- The bathtub can be a magical place on an ordinary night. All you need is a package of glow bracelets, sticks, necklaces or even wands. Break and shake the glow sticks until they are bright and then plop them in the tub. If the kids are adventurous, turn off the lights and let the glow party begin. This is a good way to extend the joy of the glow items you might purchase at a fair or amusement park as well. Glow sticks can be placed in the freezer and used an additional night.
Inspire an artist -- If you need the mirrors or tub cleaned, let your artist get to work. Use foaming shaving cream on any hard surface and then let them smear it and finger paint in it. When they are done, the shaving cream can be wiped off with a paper towel or sponge.
Get crafty -- All you will need is a cheap package of sponges, scissors, accessory craft pieces and imagination. What can you turn that sponge into? How about rounding the corners off the front, sticking a drinking straw in the middle and adding a paper sail? Create marine animal stencils for fish or turtles and then use a sharpie marker to draw your template on the sponge. Cut the shape with scissors and you now have a fun sponge for chore or bath time. Since sponges are prone to bacteria, be sure to clean them regularly or throw them out and make new projects.
Start thinking of your bathroom as a bonus room. It can be a great place to learn, have fun, clean and get clean. The bonus is, there is always water available to take care of any messes.
One of our most important jobs as parents is to create self-sufficient individuals. In our helicopter-parent culture, we can sometimes be reluctant to give our children the freedoms and responsibilities that will allow them to cultivate this self-suf... read more
Just ten days ago, we were posting in this space on the topic of picture books about self-reliance. Today, our topic is books about home. And there, in a nutshell, is the yin-and-yang, the contradictory impulse at the heart of preschooler existe... read more