Why baby’s bath time is a perfect time for learning

If your baby could talk

What could be more awesome than a giant puddle in a steamy, warm room, where I’m center stage and no one is allowed to interrupt us?

Just you and me and my belly and my nose and my fingers and all the other parts of me that you tell me about. I can fill cups with water and dump them in the tub. And when you soap me up it feels so good.

Watch me! I can rub my belly clean just the way you do. Floating boats and ducks and bubbles all make my bath time even more fun. When we’re done, I love to be wrapped up in a warm towel and snuggled, and hear you tell me how sweet I smell. Hmmm. I’m something special.

What your baby is learning:


Your gentle and respectful touch, during the bath and when you’re cuddling afterwards, builds your baby’s self-esteem because it makes him feel good about himself.

Social skills

He develops important social skills when he gets you involved in a playful splashing game. He figures out how to engage you, take turns and have fun.

This helps prepare him to share good times with other people as he grows.

How things work

A few simple water toys can go a long way toward enhancing the learning opportunities of bath time.

When he creates a splash by dropping his rubber ducky in the tub, or empties the full container, your baby learns about cause and effect—how things work.

Math and science

He is also discovering basic math and science concepts such as full and empty, floating and sinking, and the difference between liquids and solids.


Most important, all of this learning takes place within the context of his loving relationship with you.

There’s no better way to stimulate his curiosity. What you can do:

  • Always keep your baby safe in the bath!
  • Six-month-olds learn by imitation. Fill up a bucket, or make the rubber ducky squeak and encourage him to do the same.
  • You don’t have to wait until nighttime to give your baby a bath. Even during the day it can be soothing and help him switch gears.

This article was provided in collaboration with the Too Small to Fail Initiative of the Clinton Foundation.

Staff articles written by our team of experts, reporters + mamas. 

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