Archive for Thursday, March 6, 2014


Family Adventures: Smoke on the bathwater

March 6, 2014


We were never truly crazy partiers, but back in the day Sweet Husband and I used to enjoy going out an awful lot. A round at Free State after work on Friday, a snack-y dinner and cocktails on Pachamama’s patio if Saturday evening was warm — for a short few years we basked in the “double-income-no-kids” lifestyle.

With a newly minted 3-year-old in the house and preschool to pay for, alas, our dates have had to be curtailed to once every few months instead of multiple times a weekend. But our Saturday nights? Well, we’ve found a new way to celebrate those — we call it the rock’n’glow bath.

The Kid plays with glow sticks and toys during a rock’n’glow bath session.

The Kid plays with glow sticks and toys during a rock’n’glow bath session.

See how fast your child can melt "toy-sicles" in a bath.

See how fast your child can melt "toy-sicles" in a bath.

If it sounds like a bowling alley discount night, it’s totally because that’s where I stole the name from. But keep those ugly shoes in the closet. The only special equipment you’ll need for this is a bathtub of warm water, a handful of glow sticks and a kid that you need to get somewhat clean.

Plunk the child in the tub, crack the glow sticks and turn off the lights. Suddenly, your nighttime bath ritual looks a whole lot more like a party, right?

We’ve found that bigger, fatter glow sticks are more satisfying to the small crowd, but the thin ones are just about as good. (And both are available year-round at Michaels, 3106 Iowa St., if you don’t have any leftover from Halloween.)

The success of our rock’n’glow bath has prompted me to research other ways to make bath time more fun. I’ll confess, I haven’t tried them all yet — the glow sticks alone are pretty popular, and I don’t like to mess with a good thing — but a few of these will undoubtedly join our Saturday night bathtub celebration before long.

Pick up an inexpensive black light and spike your child’s bath water with tonic water. The quinine in the tonic water makes it glow under black light. For bonus points, get a package of glow-in-the-dark stars at The Toy Store, 936 Massachusetts St., and add those to the tub as well.

Grab a can of shaving cream, a muffin tin and a few bottles of food coloring. Squirt a dollop of cream in each well of the tin, add a few drops of color to each dollop, and you’ll have a squishy, soapy palette of bath paints.

Put a few of your child’s small toys — think Matchbox cars, plastic farm animals or jewelry — into individual bowls of water. Freeze the bowls so that the toys are encased in ice. Just before bath time, loosen the ice with a little warm water. Then pop the “toy-sicles” in the tub and see how fast your child can melt the ice to get the toy out.

Fill a few small spray bottles with different colored packets of Kool-Aid and water, then add a generous amount of bubble bath to your tub. The Kool-Aid “spray paint” can then be used to paint the mounds of bubbles rainbow colors.

Let your child do something he’s not necessarily supposed to do. For example, one night the Kid was being silly and asked, “Can I get in the bathtub in my clothes?” Rather than responding, I picked him up and plopped him in — shorts, T-shirt and all!

While my former, going-out-all-the-time self would probably think this is crazy talk, by planning just a little extra fun I think I enjoy our Saturday nights in as much as or more than when we used to spend them out. Stock up on glow sticks and start a new family tradition!

— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at


Robert Kelsey 4 years, 2 months ago

Your use of glow sticks in the bath tub with your son is absolutely inspiring. Glow sticks are like a pet project with me. I'm always trying to figure out new ways to use them, and you have provided me with just that!

I got an idea from this that I will use this summer for the picnic days that spill over into the evenings. I will put glow sticks into the cooler full of ice and beer!

There was a post on another site that turned me on to a cheap source for glow sticks which is - they sell to anyone at wholesale prices. I hope you can benefit from that bit of information.

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