10 Best Bath Toys in 2020

best overall rating
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Improves motor skills
  • BPA-free
premium choice rating
  • Comes with 2 mini cars and slide-out ramp
  • Free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, and external coatings
  • 100% recycled materials
great value rating
  • 3 toys of recognizable movie characters
  • BPA-free
  • Colorful and textured

Bath time for a small child can be an experience everyone dreads, or it can be a whole lot of fun if you give your child bath toys. You want a toy your child can play with, one that’s safe and fun, one that provides stimulation or even a learning experience. These toys can be ones that manipulate water in fun ways. They can be colorful and textured and can even make interesting sounds.

Then there are toys that can teach the basics of counting or colors, all during your child’s bath time. In our in-depth research, we’ve found toys for the bath that can enrich a small child’s life. With help from parents who have seen these toys in action, we built a review to take you through the ins and outs of the best baby bath toys.

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Below we’ll talk about the ten best bath toys for toddlers and babies that will get them interested in bath time. All ten toys are categorized into age ranges, safety, and even what developmental benefits they’ll provide to your child.

View the Best Bath Time Toys, Below.

Buyer’s Guide

To help you figure out what toy is right for your young gift recipient, we’ve narrowed things down into three categories. First: how age appropriate is this gift? Second: how safe is this gift? Third: does this gift offer enrichment and stimulation? Read on to learn about all these details.

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Recommended Age

Typically, babies are able to sit up at 6 months old, making bath time in the tub—along with some cool baby bathtub toys—a viable option. Still, infants have those tiny hands that haven’t learned everything about motor skills. They’ll need small, simple infant bath toys. So don’t buy any toy basketballs and hoop by 3 Bees & Me just yet. Very small, eye-catching colorful toys make for the best infant toys.

So the very youngest of bath-timers would do well with the Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Toy, the Nuby 10-Pack Little Squirts toys, or any number of simple water-squirting toys we have listed. When your baby’s about a year old, they’re more observant, and they’re able to do more with their hands. Their newfound curiosity and skills lead them to exciting discoveries.

One such discovery is learning the nature of water, how it flows, where it goes after. For this reason, toys like the Boon Building Bath Pipes Set or, again, squirt toys, are fantastic for kids around the one-year mark. 2-year-olds are running, jumping, and moving like crazy, saying words, and astounding you every day. The best bath toys for 2-year-olds will be ones that keep them from becoming too antsy.

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This is where that basketball set comes in, along with the Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bathtime Fun that allows a child to toss a ring onto the octopus’s tentacles. Other fun baby bath toys are out there, like the Munchkin Fishin’ Toy or the 3 Bees & Me Bath Magnet Boat Set that both have interesting magnetic properties. Bathtub toys for 3-year-old kids are harder, since at this age there might be an even stronger aversion to bath time.

But you can make this time an engrossing, engaging learning experience. All the toys above have vibrant colors and different shapes you can teach a child about. Any time can be a good time for kids to learn things, so you can be sure to make bath time toys count. Lastly, bath toys for 4-year-olds and older probably require that you know that child’s special interests. For example, if they love Finding Nemo, the Nemo squirt toys we listed are very fitting.

Safety

There are some very worrisome health hazards present in some plastic baby tub toys. The public is becoming aware of BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical widely used in plastics since the 1960’s. BPA can have adverse effects on a child’s brain and their behavior, while also hindering other important body functions. Since kids put so many plastics in their mouths, it’s necessary to rule out products that have trace elements of BPA. If BPA contents are not clearly stated anywhere on the packaging or the website, you can ask the manufacturer about BPA online.

Next, phthalates are plastics that can cause organ damage. Many toy companies will tell you that they avoid phthalates along with BPA, so look out for those. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is another plastic to think about. It’s not as talked about as BPA or phthalates are, but more than a few toy manufacturer’s will explicitly tell you that they have PVC-free products. The last chemical concern is lead, which has been phased out of toys in many countries.

Companies like 3 Bees & Me always state that their toys are lead-free. Many others don’t go out of their way to say that, but toys being lead-free may be something that’s just taken for granted at this point. Besides what materials the toys are constructed from, there’s one more concern: mold. Toys for the bath are obviously prone to the mold that grows in damp conditions.

The toys that squirt water are a bit too good at keeping water inside, causing a harmful buildup that can remain hidden for a while. So with squirt toys, do the standard draining and air-drying, as well as you can. Some toys could get mold no matter what. In that case, check the online reviews and see how long these toys can last. Before you buy, check out the toy’s design. Toys with multiple drainage areas are great for avoiding mold.

Translucent toys like the Boon Building Bath Pipes Set will reveal the first signs of mold or mildew. Then, toys that are sealed to let zero water in are obviously very safe when it comes to mold. Lastly, toys that have no crevices or grooves will be less prone to a growing gunk. Look for all of those signs so you can buy some mold free bath toys.

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Developmental Benefits

Toys aren’t made just to look nice. They’re built for maximum bath fun and education. The ones that stimulate the mind and build fine as well as gross motor skills are the best. Stimulation for a small child means that the senses are activated. Touch, hearing, and sight can all be engaged by the best toys. To begin with touch, we can look at textured toys. An example comes from the Finding Nemo Squirt Toys we reviewed earlier. These toys aren’t completely smooth but have raised spots for little hands to explore.

For toys that use sound, you can go for a rattling tubs toy or even a toy that makes a little sound as it squirts out water. Next, sight-stimulating toys are easy to describe. They’re colorful and fun, with markings and patterns all over. Interestingly, the Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Toys tick all these boxes. With a textured, moving ring on the outside and colorful, rattling parts inside, they make great bath toys for babies from 4 months old and onward.

Let’s talk about developing motor skills. First, fine motor skills are pretty much dexterity, the ability to move the hands and fingers effectively. When very small kids place toy cars onto the Green Toys Ferry Boat or play at fishing with the Munchkin Fishin’ Toy, they’re making precise movements of the hands. With enough practice, they’ll be able to button buttons and zip zippers as well as you can! Gross motor skills involve bigger movements.

Think arms and legs. Toys like the 3 Bees & Me Basketball Set will help, along with the Nuby Octopus Hoopla Bathtime that asks kids to toss rings onto the toy’s tentacles. Finally, many toys can be used to talk about shapes and colors and counting. And any animal-themed toys can be used to identify animals and the sounds those animals make. Engaging children with these knowledge pursuits during bath time might help the most bath-avoidant kids enjoy themselves.

Conclusion

You’ve now learned that there’s a lot that goes into buying the right toy for bath time. From BPA to phthalates to mold and mildew, there’s a lot going on. In the end, the child you’re buying for might have their own very particular ideas on what makes the perfect toy. This child could either hate or love the color pink. They could already know all there is to know about shapes, colors, and numbers.

They might not be ready for a toy that requires high motor skills and problem-solving. Whatever the case, you know this child better than us! You’ll be able to judge what toy is the perfect fit.

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Lastly, safety is a top priority whenever you buy something for a child. That’s why there are no choking hazards on our list and why we always note any mentions of BPA or other harmful substances hiding in plastics. Bath time should be about safety and fun, so find a toy to reflect these values!

Expert Tip

To avoid mold and mildew, look for toys that don’t let in water and don’t have small grooves where mold can grow. If it’s unavoidable, translucent toys that show buildup or toys that are easy to drain are the next best thing.

Did you Know

The ferry boat toy by Green Toys is made 100% from the plastic of recycled milk jugs.