The Most Fun Bath Toys for Kids (Beyond the Rubber Duckie)

published May 12, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Walmart, Fat Brain Toys, Haba

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When we first started bathing our son in the regular tub instead of the bitsy infant one, he was so excited that he was allllllll over the place — pulling himself up here, bonking his head there. Add water to the mix and it was nothing short of terrifying. Since he has the simplest possible wooden toys throughout the rest of the house, I thought investing in something that lights up would rivet him in the water and get him to sit down and focus, and it worked. Our savior? This entrancing Fred KOI TOY light-up bath goldfish. Not bad for an inexpensive purchase!

If there’s one thing that saves parental bath time sanity above all else, it’s a riveting bath toy (or five). But finding the ideal splash pals is anything but easy, especially when less-than-stellar contenders are either too boring to hold a kid’s attention long — or too complicated to keep mold at bay. 

We rounded up a few bathing beauties for littles, many of them so cool that you may find yourself steeping with them, too. 

Origami Boats

Ages 12 months and up

There’s something eternally satisfying about a throwback newspaper boat. This PVC and BPA-free trio ups the ante by transforming to brighter hues when they hit warm water. 

The Rainbow Fish Bath Book

Ages 3 and up

What’s blue, shimmery, and read all over — including in the tub? This children’s book by Marcus Pfister, now in a squishy waterproof format for splash time. 

Water Gear Bath Toy

Ages 12 months and up

If you can see your tot’s wheels turning at all times, these spinners are worth a try. Some users found them difficult to whirl with water alone, but hand cranking may be even more fun for intrepid toddlers.

Cloud & Droplet Bath Toy

Ages 12 months and up

Drizzly days? Not always fun. Drizzly silicone “clouds” at bath time? Ecstasy-inducing. Bonus: They’re dishwasher safe for the ultimate sanitized clean. As one reviewer raved: “Stop buying anything else!”

Bath Crayons

Ages 3 years and up

When your burgeoning Matisse or Kahlo never stops creating, why limit their artwork to dry land? These easily gripped crayons allow them free-range expression, and the work wipes away in a zip with a wet cloth — a lesson in impermanence. 

Bath Pipes

Ages 12 months and up

Sure, a few pipes that suction cup to your shower walls doesn’t *sound* all that impressive … but this amazingly reviewed product doesn’t lie. Kids love pouring water through the PVC-free pipes and even connecting them to make a shape-shifting chain. 

Bubble Bath Whisk

Ages 3 to 6 years

Julia Child didn’t become the Julia Child until she was 50-something. Would a hand-cranked whisk in the bath have inspired her kitchen wizardry earlier? Perhaps. Either way, wee ones adore whipping up bubbles with this number. Call it Mastering the Art of Bathing.

Submarine Monkey

Ages 12 months and up

In a place where monkeying around a little is downright encouraged, this phthalate-free toy — in which a monkey in a submarine whirls around the tub, thanks to its string-activated propeller — helps littles live their best bath lives. 

Pirate Ship

Ages 6 months and up

Avast ye! This pirate ship and a flotilla of seaworthy creatures, like an octopus and shark, are made of a go-to surfing wetsuit material: neoprene. Be sure to pull them out of the water for some landlubber dry-out time between uses.

Bath Bombs for Kids

Ages 3 years and up

Tweens aren’t the only ones that think bath bombs are the bomb. These handmade versions have a few hidden sponge toys embedded within some of them — that are only revealed after much Crayola-bright, fizzy glee.

Light-Up Goldfish

Ages 12 months to 3 years

If you’re always fishing around for life’s magical moments, this is a bath toy worth reeling in. The clear silicone koi fish has a color-changing light in it that glows as soon as it hits water — a hypnotic trinket that’s practically guaranteed to mesmerize.