Language Skills in the Bathtub (Making the Most of Tub Time)

Written by Cassie Mascari

For most, bath time at the end of the day is a time to unwind and settle down before bedtime. But bath time can also be a time for some great language learning moments.. It's full of routines, language concepts, and you have your kid in a small space they don’t usually try to run from. Here are some language learning activities that are perfect for bath time.

Naming Body Parts. Naming body parts as they get washed is probably something you are already doing! Keep going, and make it fun! We like to sing a song in our house- its pretty simple but it makes it fun. “We wash our ___, We wash our ___ la la la la la la la we wash our ____ (arms, legs, hands, feet, etc).

BONUS: A song like this also creates an expected language pattern. As your child starts becoming more verbal you can start to leave out parts of the song for him to fill in. (Think “ready, set, go!” Most kids can fill in the “go” if you leave it out.)

Identifying Body Parts. Identifying body parts is a receptive language skills (naming is expressive language). So let’s mix it up a little! “Where is your _____ (arm, leg ,etc)? There it is! Let’s wash your _____”

Sequencing. In addition to bath time being part of our bedtime routine, or sequence, there are lots of routines that we do in the bath. “First we wet our hair, then we use the shampoo.” “First wash your face and then wash your body.” “Let’s get clean and then you can play.” “First get your towel, then wrap it around you, and then you can go into your room.”

Mine/Yours. Babies start out life thinking that their body is an extension of ours. As they grow, they learn they have arms, mommy has arms and so does daddy! “Let’s wash Brooke’s hands! These are your hands. Look, Mommy’s hands. Let’s wash my hands”.

Under/Over. Have fun with the water! Toys are useful for this concept since I don’t recommended dunking your baby ;) “The duck goes under the water! Look, now he’s over the water.”

Wet/Dry. This one is fun to do with a bunch of washcloths, (I promise it will get you a few laughs), but toys are great too. As you throw the toys in the bath you can say “Elmo isn't in the water yet, so he's still dry. Here you go, Elmo, jump in! Now Elmo is all wet.”

In/Out. Another great one to do with toys, but can also do with your child. “Johnny is in the bathtub. Now you are all clean, time for Johnny to get out.”

Cause/Effect. Cause and effect can be taught with almost anything. In the bath, using bubbles is a fun activity since its really hands on. “You popped the bubbles! Popping the bubble makes it go away.”

Timed activity. In my opinion, this is a really important lesson since it applies to so many activities we do. You can use a kid-friendly hourglass or a red/green light watch. “When the time sand is all gone (or light turns to red), bath time is finished.”

Following Directions. This can be done with toys, washing up, or even getting dressed after. As your child matures, so should the directions. Start with simple 1 step directions, “Put the duck in the boat.” “Pick up your arms” and then progress to complex directions and 2-3 step directions. “Pick up the washcloth and wash your belly”. “Put Elmo, Cookie, and Big Bird in the basket”.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at

#bath #bathtime #bathtub #language #languageskills #speech #speechtherapy #slp #learning #toddlerlearning #babylearning #babytalk #todlertalk #communication