20 Bath Toys for Good, Clean Fun
When bathtime rolls around, your mission is clear: Get baby clean from head to toe. While scrubbing food off that little face or paint off their fingers might feel like a chore, bathing baby can actually be a splashing good time. The key to an enjoyable experience for all? A collection of exciting bath toys to offer up when the going gets tough—or better yet, before baby turns into a squirming, slippery mess! Below, we’ve rounded up some buying tips, plus a list of the best bath toys to keep babies and toddlers entertained.
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Ready to start shopping? Check out our top tips for choosing the best tub toys for babies, toddlers and kids.
• Choose a toy that’s age appropriate. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), baby bath toys aren’t necessary for young infants—the water itself is thrilling enough. That said, once baby is old enough for the bathtub, toys are a welcome addition. When shopping for baby and toddler bath toys, always defer to the manufacturer’s age guidelines to guarantee they’re suitable for your little one.
• Look for sensory bath toys. The more fun your child has in the tub, the better! Bath toys will keep babies and toddlers happy (and distracted!) while you get them spick and span. Sensory toys, in particular, help encourage healthy development and learning that can strengthen key motor skills. Options like stacking and draining cups or light-up baubles are great for rousing their senses.
• Pick toys that are easy to clean and dry. To prevent mold and mildew, bath toys should be air dried between each use. Soap scum and grime build up over time, so regular cleaning post-use should be a priority. To make life easier, purchase bath toys that dry fast or are dishwasher-safe.
• Avoid squeezable toys with holes. These types of bath toys are notoriously hard to clean and can harbor mold. Moreover, opting for bath toys that are hermetically sealed—meaning they’re designed without holes—and are resistant to water retention (the culprit of mold proliferation) is the way to go. If you have trouble finding no-hole playthings, set your sights instead on toys with large openings or those that come apart, as they “can be easily drained, cleaned and dried,” says Emily Neese, co-founder of Bubbles & Joy, a bath toy subscription service.
• Pay attention to materials. Babies and toddlers put everything in their mouths (both food and toys alike), squeezing and biting as a way to learn and explore—so when you’re on the hunt for entertainment, “it’s especially important to know what the bath toys you give your child are made of,” Neese says. She recommends looking for toys that are BPA-free and made from non-toxic materials like natural rubber.
Bath toys may be designed to keep babies and toddlers engaged and occupied, but they should never offer an excuse to leave your child unattended in the water. For safety reasons, always stay within arms reach of your little one during bathtime.
Ready to shop for baby bath toys that’ll have your little bather giggling with glee? Here are some of our favorites.
When it comes to picking out the best bath toys for babies, start with (modernized) basics, like the rubber ducky. This version of the classic toy serves as a temperature indicator for the bath, thanks to a blue disc on the bottom that tells you when the water is too hot for baby’s sensitive skin—not bad for just a few bucks! Plus, the infant bath toy is easy to grab and hold, not to mention watertight (see ya later, mildew). Age: 0 months+
There’s something babies just love about playing with water in different ways when in the tub—which is why this boat bath toy is designed with a spout, allowing them to scoop and pour water during their bathtime adventure. It’s also made from recycled plastic and free of BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings, making it both eco-friendly and completely safe for baby. Age: 6 months+
Stacking cups are already a baby-approved activity out of the tub, so adding water just takes things to the next level. These baby bath toys come in eye-catching colors, and your little wave maven can connect them to create a cute caterpillar or stack them to build an impressive sea tower—learning hand-eye coordination along the way. Baby will undoubtedly have loads of fun scooping, draining and stacking this sweet bath toy set, and you’ll be able to nest it all together for compact storing once they’re finished. Age: 9 months+
You can bring a plushie to bed, and now you can bring one to the bath too! This penguin is made with cuddly cotton, and it’s a perfect bathtime buddy for infants who start panicking as soon as they catch sight of soap and a washcloth. You can use it to both clean and comfort baby, and once the sudsy session is over, you can squeeze out the excess water and hang the arctic comrade up to dry using the convenient fabric loop. Best of all, it’s totally safe to throw in the washer and dryer. Age: 0 months+
Like the name suggests, this trio of 100 percent natural rubber bath toys is super soft and utterly dreamy to squish and squeeze. Each animal has a rattle inside, which provides stimulation and comfort to any newborn—the ideal sensory and teething toy! And since the pastel creatures are fully sealed, they’re superbly hygienic. All you need to do for light cleaning is wipe the surface of each toy with soapy water and a damp cloth, air dry and allow any moisture inside the toys to drain. Age: 0 months+
Neese says that “at around the one-year mark, children become curious—exploring and examining everything,” so at this point, it’s more important than ever to start lathering up their learning opportunities and love for the bath with some of the best bath toys for toddlers.
Best bath toys for 1-year-olds
By one year old, most babies can begin developing fine motor and problem-solving skills that they’ll use for the long haul. In order to foster this, Neese notes you’ll want to seek out “purposefully designed products with a child’s concentration and critical-thinking skills in mind.” Whether it’s a “bauble that comes apart and screws back together, cups with holes for sifting or sprinkling or vessels that pour and transfer water back and forth,” these simple-trick toys are wonderful basics to add to any bath.
This whimsical raindrop and cloud team up as the ultimate scrub-a-dub duo for one-year-olds. Toddlers can fill the smiling precipitation pals simply by submerging them in water and then uncovering their holes to let the rain out. Not only are they impossibly cute and perfectly sized for your child’s little hands, but with proper care, these bath toys won’t mold—just open them up and plop them in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy and effective cleaning. Age: 1 year+
Looking for a bath toy that’ll spark their imagination and help strengthen their hand-eye coordination? This BPA-free set includes three brightly colored sea creatures that don’t stand a chance when they’re eyed up by your toddler. Have them squeeze the tail fin to see the whopper mammal gobble everything up in its path. What we love even more than this fish-frenzy feast is how easily the toy opens up and dries after use. Age: 1 years+
Apparently, when it comes to bathtime, penguins just really understand the assignment. These adorable little puffins have weighted bases so kiddos can spin them, float them and send them zooming down the slide into the bubbly water below. Since both the penguins and the iceberg are sealed, you don’t have to worry about them waterlogging. What’s more, your little one will learn about buoyancy and motion in the midst of their imaginative play.
Basketball? Inside? With toddler bath toys like this, you might just become the coolest parent in town. The Baby Shark basketball hoop secures to glass or tile with suction cups and comes with three floating balls. Thankfully, if you end up misplacing any of the balls, you can easily sub in a ball or two from a ball pit if you have them lying around (that’s real-life advice from a happy mama!). The toddler tub toy also folds up for easy storage. If you ask us, it’s nothing but a slam dunk (sorry, we had to!). Age: 1 year+
Do dinos like bathtime? They sure do when they’re splashing around with your own little triceratops. Featuring water-activated multicolor lights, this adorable toy is soft and squeezable, and lights up when it gets wet. If your little one happens to prefer magic over prehistoric creatures, SkipHop also has a unicorn version. Age: 1 year+
Best bath toys for 2-year-olds
Bath play, as we’ve reiterated, is great for enriching toddlers’ development. It can encourage motor skills and nerve connection-building and even segue into language development. For this stage, Neese recommends sensory play and toys that engage your little one’s sight, touch, smell and more. She’s a big fan of “bath stickers that allow for play along the side of the tub or foaming bubble bath powder that can be scooped and mixed by your child to turn the water bright colors.”
Drawing on the walls is usually frowned upon, but not when it happens in the tub! These 100 percent pure New Zealand beeswax, soy wax and plant-based jumbo crayons (an ideal size for clumsy baby fingers) come in seven vibrant colors and can be stored in the handy canister (equipped with a drain hole) that comes along with the set. Your amateur artists can get daring and doodle while their older siblings practice spelling or math, and when they’re done for the day, the non-toxic crayons make for easy cleaning—yay for washable wizardry! Age: 2 years+
Even Monet tired of his craft on choice days, but color was something that always gave him life! These bath color drops are made using 100 percent natural, food-grade and non-toxic ingredients and can be thrown into the tub for a gorgeous color party—or to brighten your toddler’s day after an oft-happening tantrum. The bath fizzers dissolve in just two minutes, leaving no mess, residue or intense aroma (which can often accompany bath bombs or flakes) behind. Keep them on hand for sensory bin activities too! Something tells us they can amp up even the most enthralling jungle or underwater sea scene. Age: 2 years+
Who else remembers foam bath stickers from the ‘90s? (Can’t just be us!) These wet-and-stick foam forms, in shapes like toucans and koala-climbing trees, allow children to create their own imaginary worlds right on the bathroom tiles. When wet, they’re easy to grab and stick to any smooth surface. The zebras and giraffes can gallop right on the edge of the tub too—whatever your kiddo desires. Age: 2 years+
If you have a little bookworm at home, then you’ll need to start building your bath library too! Mudpuppy has a number of tub-time titles that we absolutely love for their quirky illustrations and easy-to-follow storylines. All of the bathtime friends in this marine life page-turner perk up when their colors magically appear after getting wet. Age: 2 years+
Whether or not your toddler goes on to love fishing, they can at least strengthen their hand-eye coordination by “catching” these super cute (and air-tight) magnetic bobbers with their mini fishing rod. The magnetic fishing hook easily attracts sea creatures (which can bob along in the bath on their own), and the handle is thoughtfully made to fit toddler hands. Listen for the fun clicking sounds when they lure in their catch; it sounds just like the reel thing! Age: 2 years+
Best bath toys for 3-year-olds
Imaginative play has been proven many times over to help boost children’s emotional, creative, linguistic and cognitive development. In the bath, a child is in the perfect setting for their “imagination to go to work,” says Neese. This is a great time to introduce “fun items like bath crayons or paints that allow them to flex their creative and autonomous muscles.” It’s also a wonderful turning point to channel some of their out-of-water engineering abilities and DIY prowess.
The best bath toys for toddlers breed independence while still making bathtime fun. That’s why we’re all kinds of star-eyed over this astronaut-themed bath toy set for kids. It comes complete with a mirror, a robot “razor” and a spaceship toy. The mirror promotes self-awareness and good grooming habits, while the toys keep things playful. Age: 3 years+
Speaking of independence, by 3 years old, your child might start saying, “Hey! I can do it myself!” when the time comes to scrub up and rinse off. If that’s the case, they can take things into their own hands—literally—with these fun animal-shaped sponges. Infused with a gentle, nourishing formula that includes chamomile extracts (and smells amazing), these brilliant buffers just need to be placed under water, squeezed to absorb and activate the lather and then massaged into the skin in a circular motion. Once they’re done, make sure to squeeze out the excess water and lay it out to dry—it’s good for up to 14 uses! Age: 3 years+
We’ve watched the Toy Story Toons: Partysaurus Rex short on Disney+ enough times to know that a rave in the bath is just right on a school night (a preschool night, that is). Throw in a few of these colorful cubes (in purple, green, yellow and red) to turn your toddler’s tub into a riveting light show. Each Pal has a face and a different personality, and when placed in liquid, the faces project onto their surroundings, making for a series of fun interactions. Best of all, you’ll never have to use the “you’re going to turn into a raisin” ploy to get them out of the tub again—just drain the tub and the toys will turn off automatically. Age: 3 years+
As your little one gets a little older, their curiosity and abilities are bound to grow—especially if they’re big builders with blocks and LEGOs. These expertly engineered, STEM-enriching foam bricks float and give kids the tools to build anything they set their minds to. Thanks to their innovative magnetic system, the pieces always connect and never repel—alleviating the frustration every threenager is known for. They even make a satisfying “click” sound when they’re put together, which helps them foster an understanding of cause and effect that transcends basic tactile learning. And whenever they need to be cleaned or sterilized, just pop them in the top rack of the dishwasher and they’re as good as new! Age: 3 years+
These sweet bath bombs will bring all the happy vibes to your 3-year-old’s bath session—and they’re all made with cruelty-free, ethically sourced natural ingredients. Choose from whimsical storybook characters like unicorns, baby sharks and pirates, or iconic female heroines like Amelia Earhart and Maya Angelou. Once the bath bomb is all but frothed up, a surpise themed magnet awaits your little one, making it a two-for-one when it comes to bathtime fun. Age: 3 years+
About the expert: Emily Neese is a mom of three and the co-founder of Bubbles & Joy, which offers bathtime box subscriptions featuring hand-picked, age-based bath toys and activities that are mold-free, BPA-free and made of natural ingredients and materials.