spSensory play is a fancy term for any type of fun activity that is designed specifically to engage and stimulate a child’s senses. For example, putting dried beans in a bin and running your fingers through it. Or playing with scented playdough (our favorite is Pumpkin Pie Playdough). These types of activities can be done anywhere but some are best for outdoors, the kitchen, in bins, or, our favorite, in the bathtub.

For my sons, and myself, there’s nothing more fun than making a mess and not having to clean up! Here are our top 5 favorite sensory play activities to do in the bathtub:


1. Jello!


It jiggles, it wiggles, it’s cold, and slimy, colorful, and to top it off, yummy! Jello has it all when it comes to sensory play. You can even throw it against the wall to hear the cool “splat” sound or add sea animals or crystals and do some imaginary play. The hitch is you have to make it in advance and let it set before dumping it in the tub. Then, just enjoy. The best part is, whatever your child hasn’t eaten, will basically dissolve in water once you start to fill/clean the tub.

2. Shaving Cream

We’ve been known to pull this out in the kitchen and in the bathtub. A can of foamy men’s shaving cream is less than $2 most places and you can spray it on the walls or on your body. Then draw pictures, write words, pretend to shave, or just let your imagination run wild. Just like with the jello, once you add the water, down the drain it goes. It also leaves your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.


3. Glow Sticksbath4

These can also be found at the dollar store and are a blast! Activate them and throw them in the water. Then turn the lights off and watch the ethereal glow. We like to twirl them quickly and watch the light dance or just use them to navigate the dark waters.




4. Homemade Bath Paint

Image from Charlotte Mom Favorites




Image from Charlotte Mom Favorites


This stuff is so easy to make. Just combine 1/2 cup baby wash, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and food coloring and voila! Bath paint. We put ours in a muffin tin and use small loofahs (4 for a dollar at the dollar store) as paint brushes. You can also just use your fingers or sometimes we like to use a silicone basting brush too.

5. Bubbles

This one is obvious but it goes on the list because kids love bubble bath. We like to fill the tub, put some on our hands, and then blow them at each other. You can also put them on your head, shoulders, knees, toes… you get the idea. If you wanted added baby fun, blowing bubbles with a bubble blower is also always a good time.

Have any other great sensory activities for the bath tub? Please share! We’re always looking for new, fun things to try.