For Parents

For Parents

Play Bathtub

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This toy bathtub is extra fun because it pumps out real water! It can be a great choice to help young children work on their pretend play skills, but it also works for children at all levels of play. A variety of play ideas are listed below as well as language you can say along with them.

Simple Play:

  • Have your child help pour water into the tub. (Water. We’re pouring the water The water is in the tub.)
  • Push the pump down and watch the water come out. (I pushed it. The water came out.)
  • Splash in the water. (We’re splashing.)
  • And then wipe down any drips that came out. (My hand is wet. Now, my hand is dry.)

Combination Play:

  • Put plastic animals in the bathtub and squirt water onto them. (The tiger is in the bathtub. He got wet!)
  • Drop items into the water so they make a big splash. (The elephant jumped in. He splashed the water. It came out of the tub!)
  • You don’t just have to fill the sink with water. Try dumping small blocks or beans in there, scoop them with a cup or pour between cups, and then dump them back out. (The tub is full. You poured the beans. They’re in the cup.)

Pre-Symbolic Play:

  • Fill a cup with the water from the shower and have an animal pretend to drink. (The lion is drinking.)
  • Wet a sponge and pretend to wash a plastic doll or animal. (The sponge is wet. We’re washing the dog. He’s clean!)
  • Wet the animals in the shower and then dry them off with a washcloth. (The giraffe is in the shower. Here’s a towel. He’s dry!)


  • Work on imaginary play by pretending to wet and dry the animals or splash in the water when there’s no water in the tub.
  • Pretend the doll is doing their own actions by making the doll’s arm splash in the water or push the water out of the shower head.
  • Act out a whole bath time routine with a doll. Take their clothes off, pour water into the bath, have them climb in, shower them by pumping out water, wash them with a sponge, and then dry them off with a towel.
  • Make the bath routine more fun by adding shaving cream and pretending it’s soap! Careful, make sure it doesn’t get in the doll’s eyes!
  • As they act out a bath routine with a doll incorporate aspects of the child’s own routine. Sing your favorite bath time song or add in bath toys!