Time for Wonderment

  • by Sonya Shoptaugh ON January 17, 2013

    Bath time. It is a part of most family’s daily routine. For some, it is fun. For others, a chore. For most, it’s a blend of both, with the common intention for children to get clean, wash the day off, and afterward, climb into fresh pjs, ready for sleep. Often this is the moment when parents exhale a sigh of relief, ‘day is almost done.’ (I know that feeling well.)

    And, it is also one of those ordinary times of day that has extraordinary potential for wonderment.


    One day awhile back, I was considering how I wanted to savor bath time more with my daughter, to slow it down rather than rush through it. This led me to think about luxurious bubble baths, and then I began to ponder what it might be like to have bubbles not only on the water, but in the air too. And what if we didn’t have regular lighting, but something more playful? And, maybe some balloons, for a festive feel…

    While AC was napping, I pulled out a few items (bubble machine, bubbles, towels, various lighting options – including a black light, more towels, balloons) and began to set up the room for her evening bath.

    Our bathroom is your basic American family bathroom. It has a tub, a toilet, some tile and a bucket of toys. That night, however, it transformed into a island of imagination.


    Children naturally approach life with a sense of humor and awe. We are born with curiosity woven into the fabric of our being – this is how we begin to make sense of the world. Too often, wonderment is seen as secondary and tangential to learning, when in fact, it is primary and at the heart of what propels us to explore and discover. And, every moment has the potential for robust wonderment, if we slow down enough and invite it in.


    As bubbles began to flow into the bath and all around her (and over the side of the tub…), my daughter was mesmerized. She watched her surroundings become iridescent as balls of rainbows wafted around her. More and more bubbles filled the air. With millions of bubbles landing all around her and on her body, she began to talk about what it might be like to be inside of one of them. She has a strong desire to fly, and perhaps she thought this would be a way for her to finally get into the air, once and for all. She bounded out of the bath.


    AC examined the bubble blowing machine to see where she could climb in.

    “Mama. If I step in back here where the liquid is, will the machine blow me out in a bubble?”
    “Ah, love, that tray looks a little small for you … perhaps we need to think of another way for you to get into a bubble…”

    She got back into the tub and we talked more about how she might be able to inhabit a bubble. Bath time ended with a lingering question and the ordinary space took on a new identity – it became a place of wonderment where time can expand and new worlds can be imagined. Now, when AC asks to take a bubble bath, I know this is what she means.

    (I would love to hear your thoughts about how you have made wonderment come alive in your daily life. Please feel free to comment below, or find me on Facebook at Creative Childhood to continue the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you!)

  • Comments(11)

    Would love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment.
    • vicki
      January 17, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

      Lovely, lovely photos as usual.

    • Jen
      January 18, 2013 @ 4:22 am

      Love this and the idea of the bubble machine for all!!
      Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

    • kathleen
      January 19, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

      I love how “in love” you are with the experience of your child…….in the purest sense of the word 🙂

    • Sara
      January 20, 2013 @ 1:45 am

      This is wonderful….literally! Have you ever thought of filling a small pool (the little plastic kind you can get in summertime), having your daughter stand in it, then pull a hula hoop up around her so she’s surrounded by a cylindrical bubble?

    • Sonya Shoptaugh
      January 20, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

      sara, great idea! we have tried something similar to this the children’s museum in a nearby town, but i think we can have some fun attempting to make our own – i’ll let you know in a few months 🙂

    • Sheila
      January 21, 2013 @ 1:56 am

      Great Sonya – Adams Fairacre Farms in the summertime has a summer fair and they have a gentleman that does Bubble Shows using all sorts of things and the children participate its awesome!!!!! Check it out this summer!!!!

    • jo haynes
      January 22, 2013 @ 2:34 am

      Ignited by a pedagogy of listening.

    • Trudy
      April 23, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

      Our moments of wonderment have been purely spontaneous — nothing I’ve planned with intention — the prisms and rainbows cast on the ceiling by the CD my son is holding or having fun with the shadows on the wall. I’m often think the set up has to be complicated. I will use some of your bath wonderment — my son loves bubbles. I’m curious if you have lights in the bathtub itself? The tub is glowing…

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