String of Floaters

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It’s never too early to introduce a little science at tub time! Older toddlers will love experimenting with what sinks and what floats, and perhaps understanding a little bit of why. But for my one-year-old tonight, this activity was more about delighting with the visual of flotation!

Gather items around the house that float: corks, Styrofoam, and wooden beads are all perfect. I strung these items together in one big line. Now it was ready to be a boat!

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Veronika loved towing the items along, running her fingers over each of the different materials and dragging them through the water.

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I also cut a sponge into a few different shapes, like rectangles, diamonds, and triangles, and added these pieces to the tub.

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Veronika loved grabbing the sponges and discovering she could squeeze them. Then she began scrubbing at the Styrofoam with the sponge pieces; cleaning and learning, what a double win!

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We will definitely get good mileage out of this homemade tub toy. As always, make sure water play is 100% supervised.

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Foam Sheet Bath

Foam Bath (5)There’s a new favorite bath toy around here, and it’s as simple as this: leftover foam sheets from the craft store!

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I happened to have circular ones, which were the perfect material for the tub. They are slightly smaller and thus easier to manipulate than standard rectangular sheets you can purchase. If you have big rectangular ones, consider cutting into smaller shapes in a variety of squares, circles, and triangles.

Veronika was soon squishing them in her hands in the water with glee.

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I showed her how to stick them up to the wall as soon as they were wet, and she proceeded to pull them down and stick them back on all bath.

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Rather obviously, the game was great for talking about colors, too! Could she put her hand on the blue one? Could she hand me a green one?

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As a bonus, leave them in the tub for older siblings; big brother Travis turned these into “lily pads” for toy animals!

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Developmental Bath Toys

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It can be hard to keep Veronika in one place long enough to “learn” from her toys these days (think: shape sorters and stacking rings). One great option for babies who just won’t sit still is to take advantage of a bathtub’s confined quarters. This makes bath time ideal for developmental learning and play!

I found a tub-safe shape sorter on Amazon and brought that to the bath, along with her plastic stacking ring set.

The shape sorter was an enormous hit! Whereas in her playroom she’ll fiddle around with the shapes for a moment and then lose interest, now she was fixed in front of the shape sorter.

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She spent quite some time trying to insert the circle into the square. Hmm, that didn’t work. I showed her the circle space. Tada! She was fascinated and wanted to play over and over.

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As a bonus, tub toys like this often have water wheel or pouring features, which further engaged Veronika.

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The stacking rings were also novel in the tub. She usually just likes to pull the rings off the center post, but now she had the time and incentive to stack the rings on.

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For any toys like this, keep up the dialogue as baby plays: shapes, colors, relative sizes. There is so much you can say!

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As an added bonus, all these fun toys kept my little imp from trying to pull up on the side of the slippery tub… but that’s a topic for another day!

Bubbling Bath Fizzies

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If you’re still wondering what to make for grandmas, moms, aunts, or any other special mother-figure this mother’s day, Travis and I have got you covered with this treat for the toes from Highlights magazine. The gift is equal parts craft and science, which makes it a fantastic way to engage kids in the spirit of gift-giving.

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In a large craft bin, Travis mixed up the following ingredients:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup citric acid

1/2 cup Epsom salts

3/4 cup corn starch

Make sure to tell your child that the mixture isn’t edible, even though most of the ingredients are, especially if you’re used to cooking together!

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In a small bowl, we whisked together 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. Add the liquids to the mixture slowly, stirring until combined. Kids will want to wear goggles (or sunglasses, in a pinch!) to protect their eyes, since it will bubble as you stir.

We also added blue food coloring for a pretty tint and a few drops of vanilla extract for a nice smell. The downside was that this made our mixture a little too liquidy (you want it to be slightly dry and crumbly). It seemed all right at first, but as our bath bombs dried, they puffed out. Note Travis in his too-cool-for-school sunglasses, ha!

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Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out each portion, and pack down tightly. Gently release onto a paper towel and let dry for a full 24 hours.

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Package the bath bombs in any pretty tissue paper or parchment paper.

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We also added a little gift tag with instructions for treating those tootsies!

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And of course we saved one to test out at home! Travis loved watching it fizz, before putting his feet in to soak. Don’t forget to give a quick explanation of why it all fizzes up – the baking soda and citric acid reacting together once in water, of course, which releases CO2 gas (ergo, bubbles).

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Take a Bath with Your Baby

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New parents, you’ve been giving your baby a bath in an infant tub for a month now, so chances are you’ve become a pro – hurray! But if you find that bathtime is a struggle for an unhappy baby – or simply want to mix things up – try out this alternative.

Get right in there in the tub with your baby.

I slipped on a bathing suit (for blog purposes, ha!) and climbed into a tub that was felt lukewarm to an adult, and just right for baby. Not only was this super relaxing, but Veronika seemed to love sitting on my lap in the water, looking up at me with big, curious eyes.

I supported her as I washed her gently, and she seemed to delight in this new way of being washed, as opposed to alone in her own tub.

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To add to the fun, big brother Travis donned a bathing suit and climbed in with us – a family affair!

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Another solution to calm a nervous infant in the tub – since you probably won’t be able to bathe with them at every bath time – is to play soothing music. My taste leans toward Mozart, but play any soothing music that your child likes.

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Here’s to happy splashing!

Newborn Bathtime 101

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Today was the day for Veronika’s first bath in the tub! With the umbilical stump behind us, I could now fully submerge her in water, which meant it was time to pull out the infant tub.

I highly recommend having a tub that’s sized for an infant at this stage. You’ll need to simultaneously support the head and neck while rinsing with water, plus making sure that the water is the right temperature, so that’s a lot to manage if a baby is in a full-size tub!

I have what appears to be a discontinued infant bathtub from 4Moms, but it worked great with Travis and it was time to see if Veronika loved it too!

A temperature gauge is helpful to avoid scalding an infant’s sensitive skin, but not necessary. You want it warm, but not hot. Always test with your own hand, first!

Once I’d filled up the well with water, Veronika went into a shallow layer of water, where I could wash and rinse, and use the vents to drain soapy water away.

When it comes time to shampoo, I’ve found that both my kids love being held over the sink instead of doing this part in the tub – like a day at the hair salon!

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Looking for a good baby shampoo? I’m partial to organic options like California Baby and Earth’s Best, the latter of which was rated the #1 organic pick in a reviews.com sampling of baby shampoos.

What are your bathtime faves with a newborn? Please share in the comments!