Get ready for the cutest car wash. It’s bath time, and you’re the customers!
There’s something magical about bath time for kids.
The water has such a calming effect on them. Therefore, it has a calming effect on us parents!
Now that my son is old enough to sit up and play in the bath tub safely, it’s much less of a task and more of a relaxing mom break!
Last night my stepdaughter was upset because she didn’t want to stop playing in the backyard. It was a school night, so we needed to get bath time started. She was dragging her feet.
So I announced loudly,
“Attention, everyone! It’s time for the car wash to start! Hurry, everyone grab your cars! Head to the bath tub! We need people to work at the car wash!”
My stepdaughter and son immediately broke out into big smiles. They sprang into action, grabbing all the Hot Wheels cars that were already conveniently strewn about the floor.
My husband found his old Hot Wheels cars from when he was a kid. It’s been so sweet to see them living on through our kids. I can’t believe how long they’ve lasted!
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Then, they eagerly jumped into the bath and started playing right away.
I could have easily just let them entertain themselves playing together with the cars — and there would have been nothing wrong with that!
But, last night, I could tell my stepdaughter was emotional and just needed a little extra connection.
Here’s where the fun parent role comes in:
I became the owner of each car. In drastically different, funny character voices.
- A very embarrassed firefighter who has never cleaned his fire truck and is so nervous to take it to the car wash for the first time.
- A gruff New York taxi driver who desperately needs their help. He eats hot dogs all day while driving around and leaves all the trash in the car. It’s gotten out of hand.
- A little old lady who drives a monster truck.
- A very bubbly opera singer who drives a hot pink sparkly race car.
Etc., etc., etc.! Whatever came to my head next.
Kids love being the “authority figure” in a game. Each of my characters was coming to my stepdaughter desperate for her help.
It was clear that my commitment to this bath time game made her feel important and valued.
Because, when kids play, they put their whole heart into it. The line between imagination and reality almost disappears.
It wasn’t hard. I didn’t even have to get up off my butt. In fact, I answered several text messages while I was waiting for my cars to be washed.
Bonus: it created a fun structure for bath time without me having to nag or push. Once all the cars were washed, the very grateful owners picked them all up. And it was time to rinse off!
Engaging in this type of play isn’t just fulfilling to the kids. It’s fulfilling to us, too.
I know parents are tired at the end of the day. But, if you can access a little part of your playful side at the next bath time, I promise it will go a long way!
Other ideas for fun connection at bath time:
Do you enjoy bath time? Is it more of a chore or a nice little break?
Let me know in the comments if your family tries this game!
Hi! I’m Mia.
Mom, stepmom, wife, songwriter, performer, and theater educator.
I love sharing ideas, tips, and templates for connecting with kids through low-to-no budget, waste-free, creative play.