Let me begin by telling you that it is just UNREAL how much my kids enjoyed this shower, especially my 4 year old son! This is actually our third themed shower play activity so far, but this Sensory Spider Shower was by far the most inviting to the kids because it was so multi-sensory. Our first shower play activity focused on art, our second on learning to build the letters of the alphabet, but this one’s focus was on PLAY! And if my kids are into anything right now it’s playing PRETEND so they had such a blast!
As always, our inspiration for themed shower play comes from Growing a Jeweled Rose‘s bath play posts. If you haven’t seen the baths she creates for her two little ones, you need to head over because they are simply amazing. Thanks, Crystal, because my kids have totally been loving our themed showers!! 🙂
I built excitement for Luke & Lilah (ages 4 and 3) by telling them I was setting up a special shower and making a big deal that they stay out of the bathroom while I was doing it. My favorite part of all was watching their faces when they walked in and saw what I’d set up!
This is what the shower looked like when I finished setting it up:
Here’s what was included:
*Big Spider Web — I used a cheesecloth to create a spider web right under the shower head that stretched across the shower, so when the kids got in and looked up, it was like having a big spider web over their heads. I tied various corners of the cloth to the shower head itself and then to other walls using suction cups that had little hooks on them. My goal was for the water from the shower to spray through the web.
*Hanging Spider Balloon — I drew a face on a balloon with a permanent marker and added 8 dangling legs cut from a black plastic bag. I attached the legs with duct tape and they stayed on the whole time. I tied a short stretchy string to the tied end of the balloon and then used dental floss to tie it to the shower head.
*Foam Spiders and Webs — I found spider and web foam kits at Target in the Halloween section. All I did was wet these and then they stuck to the glass and tile walls.
*Foam Take-Apart Spider — I used regular foam sheets to cut out a black spider body. I used foam scraps to make eyes and used 8 purple foam craft sticks for legs.
*Sticky Spiders with Webs — In Target’s Halloween section, I found a pack of 3 sticky stretchy spiders with webs for $1. These are the kind that have a long string and you can fling them at stuff and they’ll sort of stick. You know, the kind that if you play with anywhere pick up lots of dirt and lint.
*Stretchy spider figurines — In Target’s Halloween section, I found a pack of 4 stretchy spiders for $1, and I also added a plastic spider we had from an insect collection, too.
*Shaving Cream — I added shaving cream all over the bench seat and the floor of the shower to look like spider webs. I added all the little spiders here and there within the shaving cream webs.
Invite to Play:
Once I invited the kids into the shower, they took some time exploring everything that was in there. The shower water spraying through the web created a different water fall effect than the normal shower, so they had a lot of fun with that. I also flipped the balloon spider up on top of the spider web so that the water ran over the balloon. This created a really cool sensory SOUND experience as the water gently drummed against the balloon, as well as made even more of a water fall effect. (I tried this beforehand to be sure the force of the water would not pop the balloon and we did not encounter any issues as we have a rainfall shower head, but do beware the balloon does have the potential to pop, so supervise closely!)
The kids immediately went for the little spider figurines. They helped them crawl on the webs.
Then they played with the sticky spiders with webs. I had to show them how to hold the end and fling them against the wall. They were a big hit and the best part of all is that these things don’t get grubby and gross in the shower because it’s so clean!!
Both kids took a turn at dismantling and rebuilding the take-apart spider. Even though this wasn’t an educationally focused shower, I still snuck in a little science /nature and math learning by encouraging them to count the legs as they stuck them back onto the spider’s body. 🙂
I was surprised it took as long as it did, but then they started playing with the shaving cream. They were hesitant at first and I had to reassure them it was fine to touch and play with. After awhile, they got brave enough to start rubbing the spiders into it, and eventually even painting the walls of the shower.
They were having so much fun that I let them stay in longer than normal, but when I told them it was time to get out, they wanted to stay even longer. So we compromised. I turned the water off and they stayed in and played. (It was pretty warm in the house and they never complained they were cold.) Thirty minutes later, Lilah was finally ready to get out, so I turned the water back on to wash her off but Luke still wanted to stay in and play. He gathered all the spider webs and spiders and sat in the floor of the shower happily playing pretend.
Even though I asked several times, he was not ready to get out even an hour after I had turned off the water!! He finally agreed to get out at dinner time, but asked that I leave it set up so they could play again!! 🙂
I think next time I’ll let them get in to play for awhile before I even turn the water on, though the water does add a fun sensory element all on it’s own! 🙂
Clean up was super simple!! Luke stuck all the foam pieces back onto the wall to dry. I gave him two cups and he filled the cups with water from the shower and splashed it over the walls and shower bench to wash away the shaving cream. Then he tossed all the loose spiders into one of the cups. I think he enjoyed cleaning up almost as much as playing, and I didn’t have to do a thing!!
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L&L, ages 3 and 4, have been taking showers since they were infants and are as comfortable in the shower as they are in the bath. Would this shower play idea work in the bath instead? Absolutely!
Concerned about water conservation? Here’s a way to determine whether a bath or shower is “better” in your particular situation: Shower vs. Bath. This activity will easily work in both, so it’s really up to you!
Please Note: Anytime your child is in the bath or shower, close adult supervision is necessary. Foam pieces are not recommended for children who are still putting things in their mouth, as it is possible to bite chunks out of the foam. Also, beware giving your child pieces of foam or other objects that are small as they could be a choking hazard.
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