Bathtime isn’t just about cleanliness though. (Although yes, that remains the top goal.) It’s also a great time to bond with your little one and introduce babies to water. No worries if they scream bloody murder, they’ll love water eventually, right? Plus, they might even sleep better after a bath—winning!
That’s not all, though. You can use bath time to enhance your little one’s senses and fine motor skills. That’s right, they can be learning while they are soaking away. We see this as an opportunity, a fun opportunity, to read, sing, learn the ABC’s and maybe even deliver a few healthy snacks (we’ve gotten lots of fruits in during bath time). You just need some fun toys and waterproof books to get them excited for the bath. Bubblebath helps, too. Below are some of the best baby bath toys and books for the tub.
The fact that literally everything a kid touches ends up in their mouth at some point should be a phenomenon studied by scientists someday. In the mean time, probably best to stick with green-friendly toys. This bath tugboat, for example, is made from recycled plastic milk containers (cool!) and is BPA and PVC-free so they can play with it in and out of the water. Your babe will love it because it floats and has a spout they can scoop and pour water out of—so.much.fun. to be had here. It’s designed for babies 6 months and up, so just in time for playing in the tub. As a bonus, it’s easy to clean, too, by snapping apart so you don’t get any nasty mold hiding in there. This is one popular tugboat and has over 880 five star reviews on Amazon.
One happy mom writes, “Green Toys are extremely sturdy, environmentally friendly, bright, versatile, and fun. This particular tugboat is played with in the house, bathtub, outdoor pool, and beach. My boys love the fact that they can fill and pour water out of it. They have been quite rough on it and it has not broken or chipped. The plastic material also makes it easy to disinfect and clean when needed. It encourages them to use their imagination and can easily be played with other toys as well. The fact that it is so sturdy and doesn’t contain small parts makes it excellent for young toddlers as well. My oldest son is almost 4 and still loves playing with this. Overall, I’m very pleased with this brand and this toy. I’d highly recommend both and do recommend them quite often to friends.”
Some times the simplest toys turn out to be the best. That’s the case with this rubber duckie from Danish brand HEVEA. It’s a classic bath toy with a twist—this one isn’t plastic, but made from pure, natural rubber from Hevea Brasilienes trees. It’s also hand painted from plant-based materials, so it’s safe whether your little one wants to use it as a friend in the tub or in their mouth as a teether. Another great feature is that it’s a breeze to clean and meant to last. It was designed without any holes or cracks so you won’t find mold or mildew hiding in Mr. Duckie after a few months. (We can see how that would be traumatizing.) Parents who reviewed this toy on Amazon gave it rave reviews. One wrote, “It’s my daughter’s favorite toy. It’s made of natural rubber, so it’s safe for toddlers to bite and play with it.” And doesn’t every bb need a rubber duckie?
Babies love nothing more than to see themselves. Don’t worry about your babe being super vain, though, they are actually just exploring and getting to know their own reflection. The tub is an awesome place to take this lesson. That makes these Magic Mirror Shapes, which conveniently stick to your bathroom wall, a great option for bathtime fun. They can even float in the tub and are soft with foam edges so your little one can just hold it in their hands, too. Parents will be glad to know they aren’t real glass, so they won’t crack if they fall off the wall or hurt your babe (around water you need to be extra safe!) These are a crowd favorite and have nearly all five-star reviews on Amazon. One happy parent wrote, “From about 9-months on, we have been bathing our little guy in the big tub and he has been obsessed with his reflection in the overflow cover. When I saw these mirrors I knew they’d be a hit. He loves sticking them to the wall, letting them float in the tub, checking out his reflection, and giving his reflection kisses. The mirrors are of great quality, sturdy, and will go the distance.”
Your nighttime routine with your babe probably consists of a bath followed by a book. But if you’re a savvy parent (and we know you are) you can combine the two into one step. Bath books are a busy parent’s best friend. And Bath Time! By Sandra Boynton is a great choice. You probably already know her books like Moo, Baa, La La La and Are You a Cow? but Bath Time is an excellent addition to your Boynton collection. Not only is a cute read about taking a bath, but it is waterproof, non-toxic, and floats in the tub. Over 200 parents on Amazon have given it the thumbs up with four and half star reviews. One wrote, “My 12-month-old daughter loves this book and it has quickly become a great way to wrap up bathtime. It is short and sweet, but she looks forward to the squeak at the end each time. We love Sandra Boynton books and this one is no exception.” Now that bathtime is done and reading is checked off your list, put your baby to sleep and go enjoy some time for yourself. Win-win.
Doubling up a bath for some baby brain enrichment time isn’t ever a bad idea. And thanks to this fun foam set from Munchkin, your babe can learn their numbers and letters while getting clean. They stick to the wall, too, so you can turn your bathroom into a mini classroom, if you wish. Or just go ahead and write out funny words that your kid can’t read yet, depending on how savage you’re feeling. The letters and numbers are non-toxic plus the foam is soft and bendy, perfect for little hands. These bath letters and numbers are universally loved with over 2,700 five star reviews on Amazon. One pleased parent wrote about how they are her toddler’s go-to. “Who knew such a simple little product could bring so much joy to a toddler. We have some pretty fancy bath toys, but these are always her go-to. She loves to stick them on the bath, herself, her dad. Anything. They’re easy to clean out of the tub after it’s drained. You don’t have to squeeze water out of them like rubber duckies, so we don’t have to worry about mildew.”
Want to bring some magic fun to bathtime? In this sweet story from HABA books, siblings Paul and Pia go outside to play and get covered in mud. So of course, they must take a bath. Then for the fun part, the dirty spots on Paul and Pia in this book magically wipe clean when they get wet. Your kids will have so much fun helping Paul and Pia get clean as they take a bath and scrub a dub clean themselves. (Don’t worry, as soon as the book dries again, they dirt reappears, so you can read and enjoy it over and over.) The recommended age is 18 months and up, so older babes likely enjoy this story more. That doesn’t mean you can’t add it to your registry list now, though! It’s sure to be a favorite in no time. You may as well add in others from the Magic Book collection such as the Princess and Fire Brigade, to give yourself a little variety.
If your baby loves bubbles, these floating bubble bath toys will fascinate them. Each contains a cute toy like a turtle and whale. They float, spin, and make a fun noise when baby shakes them. The bubbles are designed to enhance your little one’s senses like sight, hearing, and touch, so they are as educational as they are fun. The bubbles are designed for ages 4 months and up, so you can start enjoying them pretty early on. And if you’re worried if your little babe will like them, these are actually some of the most popular bath toys you can find on Amazon. Parents have given them nearly 4,000 five star reviews. One mom wrote, “I got these for my 5 month olds bathtime, and they’re just as great outside of the bath! My baby likes picking these up and watching them bob up and down in the water, and these dry easily since they have no cracks or crevices. She loves taking them out of the tub, putting them back in, and slapping them to make them rattle around in the tub. I like that these are on the bigger side- baby can still pick them up with two hands, and they’re not a choking hazard.”
Your babe probably plays with the same toy for only a few months before moving on and discovering something new, so we completely understand if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive toys. That’s why this budget-friendly 16-piece foam animal character set is a great find. Your little one will delight in the happy face sea creatures, which can go on all kinds of adventures with them in the tub. Plus they stick to the tub wall when wet, so you can come up with all kinds of fun stories as your baby learns all about turtles, octopi, star fish and friends. Parents gave these rave five star reviews. One wrote how they helped her little girl get over her fear of the water. “These worked wonders for my 15 month old who was having trouble taking baths. They were a great distraction. She loves bath time now. We love them!”
For kiddos who resist stepping out of the tub because they’re having. too much fun, a hooded towel that’s equal parts plush and cute can encourage them to dry off. Mori’s Very Hungry Caterpillar towel will remind them of their favorite storybook, which you can promise to read together once bathtime is over (no, we’re not above giving bribes). This pick is made with 100% organic cotton and has antenna and fringe details down the back that just beg for a photo opp. You’ll never want your LO to grow out of it!
For more essential baby gear, be sure to check out Scary Mommy’s Spotted finds.