Baby's Bath Toys: Features to Look Out For!
Bath time is more than just a time for good clean fun. It’s also a spectacular way to let your children learn. For the parents who want to start a-splishing and a-splashing with their little ones, we dive into what you need to know about baby bath toys and which are the best options for your child!
When Can Bath Time Play Begin?
While adults need to scrub-a-dub-dub daily, babies are a bit different. In fact, until they reach an age where solid foods are a part of their regular diet, it is recommended that you limit bath times to a maximum of three times per week. Why?
First and foremost, babies under three months of age have a difficult time regulating their temperatures. What this means is that their time in the tub should be short and sweet. Ergo, bath toys need to stay out of the picture.
Second, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), eczema “affects up to 25% of children, and an estimated 60% of people with eczema develop it during their first year of life.” Since soaps and hard water can trigger flare ups, less is more when it comes to getting clean.
Finally, baby bathtubs are not ideal for play. However, once your baby can sit up on their own and has control of their head and torso, playtime in the big kid tub can be extremely beneficial to their development. It can also be a fun time for both parents and their little ones to bond! Babies normally develop this ability around six months of age, making it the perfect time to introduce bath toys.
Benefits of Bath Time Fun
Interacting with your baby in the bath is a fantastic way to facilitate sensory play — an activity that uses movement and engages a child’s sense of touch, sight, hearing, and smell. Research shows that “movement increases blood flow which awakens our cells so that we feel more alert and are able to focus our attention better afterwards. The hippocampus is especially worthy of note because it is the region of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory and is directly impacted by physical movement.”
In other words, by playing with colorful toys in the tub, you are helping to build your baby’s neural brain pathways, improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, enhance their problem solving abilities, and even work on their language development. Furthermore, physical touch has been shown to decrease a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, in turn, helping them to relax. This makes it the perfect activity before bedtime.
Top Features to Look For In Your Baby's Bath Toys
They all seem colorful and cute, but not all bath toys are ideal. Make sure to look for these three features when shopping for water toys for your baby!
1. Solid Surfaces
Water play would not be complete without some splashing and squirting of water, but unfortunately, toys that have openings are breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria. Studies have found that your baby’s rubber ducky is likely housing microorganisms like Pseudomonas, a germ responsible for eye, ear, skin, and respiratory infections.
This means that parents should look for bath toys that have a solid surface with no holes. However, if you do want to purchase squirt toys for the tub, choose items that can be easily taken apart to ensure that they dry properly.
2. Non-Toxic Materials
Just like with any other baby product, it is imperative that you look for bath toys that are free of phthalates, bisphenol A (bpa), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), latex, and lead. These can leach into the water and cause an array of developmental issues. Instead, look for food-grade silicone, natural rubber, and polypropylene or polyethylene plastics.
Additionally, while you may assume that their presence in the bath keeps them clean, you should be cleaning your child’s bath toys about once a week. Thus, consider items that are labeled dishwasher-safe. This can make detoxing the toys a breeze and ensure that your kids stay safe when those toys end up in their mouths.
3. Educational Features
Children absorb everything that they see and hear so make bath time an opportunity for learning! The best baby bath toys have bright colors, textures, and sounds. They will also promote movement. These attributes will bolster your child’s dexterity and better their spatial awareness. Moreover, toys that feature numbers, letters, shapes, and characters can be great teaching tools.
The Best Bath Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Get the most out of bath time with these awesome toys for kids ages four months and up! All of these items can be purchased on their manufacturer’s websites, Amazon, and in big box stores like Target and Walmart.
Munchkin Brand Toys
Fishin’ Bath Toy
“Hook, line, and sinker.” For the little angler in your life, Munchkin’s adorable rod and magnetic bobbers are a spectacular way to work on your toddler’s dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Moreover, the characters are airtight, removing the worry of mold, and as your 2-year-old reels in their catch, the pole makes a fun cranking noise!
White Hot Duck
Not only is this stereotypical bath toy water tight, but this little rubber duck is designed to keep your baby safe! That’s right — the “White Hot Safety Disc reveals the word HOT in white when bath water is too hot for (a) baby (104 degrees Fahrenheit and above).” This makes it the perfect accessory for newborns and preschoolers alike!
CleanSqueeze Mold-Free Bath Squirts
These adorable squirt toys will delight your little one and they will teach them cause and effect at the same time! You will love the giggles that these sea creatures will bring to your baby! Best of all, they easily detach into two pieces to help prevent mold and bacteria growth. Made for kids nine months and up, these water toys will improve the grip of little hands and create some fun along the way.
Dingray Musical Bath Toy
Making music is another great way to engage with your toddlers during bath time. Not only does this colorful instrument float on the water, but it is made with rust-resistant metal keys. Sing songs and have your one-year-old strum along with this creative gift!
Nuby Brand Toys
Your toddler will be tickled by this tentacle toss! This floating Octopus is BPA free, comes with three rings, and is a tub toy that is guaranteed to keep everyone amused. More importantly, kids as young as 18 months of age will be able to work on their hand-eye coordination. Did we also mention that this is one of the most bought bath toys on Amazon?
Foam Bath Letters & Numbers
Many parents don’t realize that bath time is a fantastic place to work on language development. Help your tot learn with these soft foam letters that will float on the water’s surface and stick to the side of the tub. They are BPA and phthalate-free and ideal for 3-year-old children who are starting to recognize numbers and letters.
Baby’s 1st Bath Book
Another way to promote speech is to read to your kids! Don’t limit this activity to bedtime — you can also bring it to the bath! This waterproof book is BPA free, is ideal for kids as young as four months, and it even has a squeaker inside.
Ubbi Brand Toys
Lighthouse Stacking Cups
While stacking cups may seem like a basic toy, they are actually an amazing tool for teaching spatial relationships and improving your child’s fine motor skills. When they are little, they can master how to grasp and release objects, allowing them to build up their dexterity.
Then as they get older, this same bath toy set will help them to better understand concepts like balancing, pouring, scooping, and transferring. This is a sneaky way of teaching basic math skills! Parents, you’ll also love that these six cups are dishwasher safe and can be used in and out of the tub.
Skip Hop Brand Toys
Zoo Pull & Go Submarine
Astound your child with this fun and interactive vessel that is being piloted by an adorable ape! Simply pull the string and the sub will propel through the water. The movement and sounds are great for sensory play and are guaranteed to keep your child’s attention! This toy is made for kids as young as 1-years-old, but supervision is recommended.
Zoo Bathtime Basketball
If your tyke likes to shoot hoops in their time between play dates, then don’t pass on Skip Hop’s basketball hoop and ball set! The puppy backboard attaches to the tile with suction cups and the set comes with three mini balls. They have also designed the net with a drawstring to make storage a slam dunk. This is perfect for kids as young as one and the materials are phthalate free.
Crayola Brand Toys
For the kids who love to color and the parents who hate the mess that seems to always migrate onto surfaces, consider investing in Crayola’s Bath Crayons! This ten pack of colors lets your toddler’s creativity flourish, without the worry of a permanent work of art on your walls. These crayons are designed for tiles and porcelain and they wash away when bath time is done.
GreenToys Brand Toys
No tub is complete without a boat to set sail across the porcelain! GreenToys makes a wonderful array of water vessels that are all made with recycled plastic that is free of PVC, phthalates, and BPA. They are also dishwasher safe. Best of all, this ship lets little sailors scoop and pour the water, making bath time much more fun!
Boon Brand Toys
Boon’s pipe toys are one of the best toddler bath toys (for ages one and up) because they can be used in a myriad of ways! Kids can engineer the workings of their water maze with the many cogs, tubes, gears, and pipes that come in the set, but they can rearrange the route at any time. This is thanks to the suction cup design.
Best of all, as they get more imaginative, you can buy more parts on Amazon that will all work with the original set. Most notably, they teach cause and effect and promote both critical thinking and creativity.
Make Bath Time the Best Time!
Remember that these toys are tools. You need to be a part of the process as well! Therefore, put down your phone, remove any other distractions, and take some time to engage with your little one. Talk and sing, partake in pretend play, and don’t forget to throw in some bubbles! You will not only keep your baby entertained, but you will also help them learn and have fun along the way.