Learning Is Everywhere
We’re learning in the bathroom!
Lots of fun ideas and activities for families!
Each month offers activities families can do together in a variety of settings. The activities within the Learning is Everywhere Calendar and on the website are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards (ELS).
These guidelines can be used to determine what babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten children may know or be able to do within specific age ranges.
The Pennsylvania Early Learning Standard is referenced after each activity.
Safety First! Children should be supervised at all times in the bath. Never leave your child alone in a bathtub! Children who can sit or stand by themselves may find it difficult in a wet and slippery bathtub.
Activities for Babies:
Use a song to describe different body parts as you wash your baby. For example, sing that you are washing his ten toes, first his big toes, all the way to his little toes. Then move onto his left foot, and his left leg, and so on. Or create a routine to sing head, shoulders, knees and toes. (Social & Emotional Development)
Use two or three inches of water in the tub for older babies who can safely sit. Provide floating toys and encourage him to reach for them as they float in the water. Gently show him how to splash in the water with his hands and feet, and encourage him with words. “Splash, splash, splash in the water!” (Health, Wellness & Physical Development)
Activities for Toddlers:
Using hand soap while washing her hands, have your toddler discover how many bubbles she can make. Are there a lot of bubbles, or a little bit of bubbles? Are they big bubbles or little bubbles? What happens if she rubs together her hands fast? What happens if she puts her hands under the water? Where do the bubbles go? (Scientific Thinking)
Activities for Preschoolers:
Use your finger to write letters on a steamy mirror and have your preschooler tell you what letters you have written. Then, help him name something that begins with that letter. How many things can you each name? (Language & Literacy)
Use the bathroom mirror to play Make My Face! Either you or your preschooler can begin by making a face, and then the other imitates it. Help your preschooler by providing a name for the face. “This is my happy face. This is my angry face. This is my surprised face.” Who can make the best face? Who can make the silliest face? (Social & Emotional Development)
Activities for Kindergartners:
Take inventory of bathroom items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) and help your kindergartner name the letter that begins each item. What else can he find in the bathroom that begins with the same letter? (Language & Literacy)
Use a plastic container (one that can float) as a “boat” and have your kindergartner slowly add other items, like toy cars, Legos, or other water-friendly toys, until the “boat” begins to sink. How many can he add until it begins to sink? What happens to the “boat” if he takes items out of it? (Scientific Thinking) Ask him to tell you a story about where the boat is going, or why the objects are on the boat. (Creative Thinking and Expression)
Start a smile early!
It’s never too early to be thinking of your child’s smile—even if teeth have not yet appeared. Taking care of your child’s smile begins at birth.
- Start early to prevent decay. To avoid “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends not putting your baby to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice or formula, as this may cause tooth decay.
- Begin with basics. For the youngest children, use a moistened washcloth wrapped around your finger to gently massage and clean your child’s gums. No need to worry about toothpaste at this point—just get your baby used to having his gums cleaned.
- When teeth appear. Once a few teeth begin to appear, try a small toothbrush made especially for smaller mouths. (Using toothpaste is not recommended until at least 2 years of age.)
- Provide help. Children will likely need help to brush their teeth twice a day until they are older than two years old. After that age, they may be able to do it, but still should be supervised. They still need an adult to brush their teeth to make sure it’s a thorough job.
- Make it fun. Make brushing fun by singing while brushing. While brushing, sing, “This is the way be brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth so early in the evening.” Switch the words to brush the top, brush the back, etc.
- Visit a dentist. The ADA recommends that a child visit the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. Your child’s dentist can address concerns related to pacifier use, switching from bottle to cup, thumb sucking, how to choose the best toothbrush or toothpaste for your child, when to start flossing your child’s teeth, and other dental related concerns. To find a pediatric dentist, check with your pediatrician or get referrals from your child care provider, friends or relatives.
Many families have said, “I hope he’ll be potty trained by the time he goes to college!” All kidding aside, potty training can be a stressful time for families and children—even though it doesn’t have to be!
- What age to begin? There really isn’t a magical age when potty training can begin. A child who is “ready” to begin potty training depends on a variety of factors, least of which is age. Less than 25% of children are potty trained by 2 ½ years old, while more than 75% are potty trained by age 3 ½ years old. More important than age are developmental milestones, so look for the signs your child is ready.
- Look for the signs. Signs for readiness include staying dry for at least two hours, recognizing that he is urinating or having a bowel movement, has developed the physical skills needed (like being able to pull up/down his pants), or has the ability with adaptations, if you child has a developmental delay, and can follow simple instructions. Most importantly, make sure he has an interest in and wants to use the potty.
- Develop a language. What names will you use for going potty, urinating and bowel movements? If your child is in child care, are these the same names used by the provider? Keep the names for these simple, and be sure your child is able to tell you that he is ready. For children with developmental delays communication can occur in ways other than verbally, such as sign language, using picture cards, or a communication device. Visit your library to explore books for your child about potty training.
- Get ready. Go to the store with your child to purchase a potty or a potty seat and pick a place in the bathroom to put the potty. Let your child sit on the potty or put their favorite baby or stuffed toy on the potty. Gather a few favorite books that you can read together while your child sits on the potty.
- Be consistent and be patient. Learning a new skill takes time and accidents will happen along the way. Provide consistent times when he has an opportunity to use the potty. When he accomplishes something new, or even when he tries, let him know he’s doing a good job and you’re proud of him. When accidents happen, don’t get mad or angry—instead clean up and encourage him to use the potty next time.
- Dress for success. Make sure your child is dressed for easy (and quick!) access to the potty. Lightweight pants with an elastic waist, and underwear or pull-ups that can easily be pulled down or up can make all the difference to success. Avoid dresses for girls that might get dipped into the potty or caught in hands when wiping, or tights (for girls) and denim jeans with a zippers for both boys and girls, as they can be difficult for a child to quickly do or undo.
- Speaking of cleaning up… Make sure each potty session ends with a hand washing session! Use plenty of soap, work into a lather, and rinse well. When washing, make sure all the parts of the hands are washed–backs of hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails.
Need help communicating with your child around bathroom issues? Check out Laying the Foundation for Communication!
Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel
Puppy Takes a Bath by Christine Ricci
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
Estelle Takes a Bath by Jill Esbaum
Barnyard Bath! by Sandra Boynton
Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
November Songs & Nursery Rhymes
Many children love being engaged through music and songs. They may love hearing the repeated sounds and words as you sing a song together. Although some nursery rhymes may have planned movements that go along with the song, don’t be afraid to make up your own movements that fits best with your child’s development.
The words to the songs can be printed, or you can visit your local library for CDs with the music.
Songs and nursery rhymes to celebrate being in the bathroom:
Cover Your Mouth And Turn Your Head
I Have Two Eyes
Ready For School
Special Thanksgiving themes songs:
Thanksgiving Day Turkey Song
Albuquerque The Turkey
Over The River
Five Little Turkeys
What’s YOUR Story?
You know you have a story to tell about what quality education has done for your child, your family or your community–We want to hear it!
Tell about your child’s favorite PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start or Keystone STAR teacher, administrator, or classroom. Share all the great things your child has learned by participating in a quality early learning classroom. Let everyone know how important it is for your family to have access to quality early learning!