Toddlers love to watch how water pours, flows, and fills containers. "Water is fascinating and soothing to 1-year-olds," says April Abrams, director of an early-childhood-education program at Fair Lawn, New Jersey. "They are entranced by its sounds and feel." What's more, water play teaches beginning math concepts. ("This cup holds more water than that one." "Now there's less water in the spoon.").
Fill the bathtub with a few inches of water. Make sure the room is warm enough for your child and that you have a slip-proof mat in the tub. Add cups, bowls, funnels, squeeze bottles, a turkey baster, and a doll. Sit on the side and blow bubbles for added excitement. Then watch the fun begin. Caution: Never leave a toddler unattended around water.