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Best bath toys for babies and toddlers 2023: Toys and games to engage and entertain

Make a splash at bath time with the best bath toys designed to develop and entertain little ones

Bath time is the perfect part of the day for bonding with babies and toddlers. Not only will it leave them squeaky clean and ready for bed, it can provide an opportunity to improve their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and visual tracking – all while you try to get their hair washed without too much drama.

For babies, the water offers them a multi-sensory experience where – when safely secured in a bath seat or tub – they can explore the temperature of the water, the sensation of the bubbles and the cause and effect of splashing. It’s also a great time to introduce colours and counting with toddlers and reciting their favourite nursery rhymes.

So, which baby and toddler toys are best? From the classic rubber duck to bath-safe crayons, bubble makers and shape sorters, there’s a huge variety on the market. But not all are created equal – and it’s important you pick the right toy for your child’s age and development stage. We’ve tested a wide range of bath toys, assessing each for their quality, safety, price and hygiene, and their ability to entertain without over-stimulating a child before bed.

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Best bath toys: At a glance

How to choose the best bath toy for your baby

How much should I spend?

Since baby bath toys aren’t electrical, you won’t need to spend too much money to find good-quality products. Prices for a classic rubber duck start from just a few pounds, with more interactive toys costing around £20.

How do I know if a bath toy is safe?

When buying baby and toddler bath toys it’s always important to look for accreditation such as the CE symbol, the UKCA mark and the BTHA Lion Mark. These determine that the toys are safe for the age range specified and have been rigorously tested.

It’s also important to buy bath toys from accredited sellers rather than third parties. Why? Research conducted by the BTHA tested the safety of 300 toys purchased from large online platforms. The 67% that came from third-party sellers failed to comply with basic UK safety requirements such as the Toy Safety Directive. Toys bought through third-party sellers can also be mislabelled with incorrect age guidance, which can put younger children at risk of choking on smaller parts.

The best way to avoid such issues is to buy through reputable retailers and check toys thoroughly once they arrive. Finally, if you have a toddler and a baby in the bath at the same time, make sure all the toys in the water are infant-appropriate, since babies will likely want to put everything in their mouths.

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What toys are suitable for babies?

From birth, the sensation of the water alone is likely to be sufficient stimulation for your baby. However, once they’re able to sit up in a bath chair or support, they’ll enjoy picking up colourful cups, ducks, boats and other toys. Every toy you offer them will most likely go straight in their mouths, so make sure older children’s bath toys are well out of reach, and there are no smaller parts that could pose a choking hazard.

What toys are suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers?

Toddlers and pre-schoolers love interactive toys and anything that enhances pretend play. Shape sorters, toys with cogs and handles, bath crayons and assorted rubber animals or characters all go down well, and are also a great way to introduce counting and STEM at bath time. Buckets with different-sized holes are also great at keeping children of all ages entertained.

How do I keep bath toys clean?

Since bath toys sit in water, they’re prone to becoming mouldy if not stored and cleaned properly. You can avoid this by drying them off with a towel after use before storing them in a clean box or container where they have room to drip-dry. Many people also keep their bath toys clean by running them through the dishwasher or steriliser every few weeks. You can also soak them overnight in a diluted solution of water and vinegar.

How we test bath toys for babies and toddlers

To draw up our shortlist of the very best bath toys for babies and toddlers, we test a wide range of toys at various price points. Importantly, all the toys on the list meet the UK safety requirements and are available from accredited sellers rather than third parties. At the time of testing, our reviewer’s children were aged six months and three years old, which enabled her to get an insight into how each child enjoyed the toys and how both children interacted with them. We also consider the quality of the materials from which the toys are made, how easy they are to clean, and how well they encourage the development of fine motor skills and hand and eye coordination.

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The best bath toys you can buy in 2023

1. Infantino glowing Jelly Lights: The best bath toy for babies

Price: £6 | Buy now from Amazon

Infantino’s floating, multi-textured jellyfish has an adorable glowing light-up body and soft tentacles that flow and swim in the water. The light is activated automatically on placing the toy in the water, much to the delight of our mini-testers. At such a low price, we think it’s a great option for both babies over six months and older toddlers, plus you can collect more over time.

Buy now from Amazon

2. Smart Splash Learning Essentials Shape Shell Turtles: The best bath toy for toddlers

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Designed to encourage calming water play for children over two years old, these Smart Splash Shape Shell Turtles are both interactive and adorable. The bale features eight turtles in total, each with their own unique-shaped removable shell. Our toddlers loved taking the shells off and matching them back up to the corresponding turtle at the end of bath time; an action that helps refine fine motor skills, develop bi-lateral coordination and colour recognition. These come in as the most expensive in our roundup, but their feel is great quality and they’re by far the most popular.

Buy now from Amazon

3. Matchstick Monkeys Wobblers: The best mould-resistant bath toy

Price: £15 | Buy now from Matchstick Monkey

The iconic Matchstick Monkey is well loved by parents, and now the company behind it has extended the range to include bath toys. These colourful wobblers are ergonomically designed to fit perfectly into tiny hands while encouraging imaginative play and helping to develop fine motor skills. Each set comes with two wobblers that are mould-resistant. We found this extra reassuring since they spent most of their time in our tiny testers’ mouths.

Buy now from Matchstick Monkey

4. Munchkin Gone Fishin’ Bath Toy: The best bath toy for improving hand-eye coordination

Price: £12 | Buy now from Jo Jo Maman Bebe

The best toys are always the ones that simultaneously capture children’s attention while helping with their development. This Gone Fishin’ toy from Munchkin is a great example, comprising a colourful magnetic fishing rod and squirty fish, which aren’t only fun to catch, but they also improve hand-eye coordination and teach kids about cause and effect. We love the fun clicking sound that gives the rod a realistic feel and the small handle that’s the perfect size for toddlers’ hands. In our opinion, the Gone Fishin’ toy is a great step up for two-year-olds who might have become bored with more simple bath toys.

Buy now from Jo Jo Maman Bebe

5. Kids Stuff Crazy Foaming Soap: Best budget bath toy

Price: £2 | Buy now from Boots

If you only want to spend a few pounds and don’t have much space for toys, a foaming soap is a brilliant way of injecting some fun into bath time. This one from Kids Stuff is vegan, cruelty-free, suitable for sensitive skin, and allows kids to create everything from ice-cream cones, to cream pies and wild hair styles (basically, as far as their imagination will take them). It’s also a great way to experiment with forming different textures when it’s pushed through different-shaped holey buckets. We’ll be making sure we’re fully stocked up in future, but one can of foam does last a decent length of time – if not left for little hands to go completely wild.

Buy now from Boots

6. Tomy Foam Cone Factory: Best Bath Toy for Role Playing

Price: £22 | Buy now from OnBuy

Most toddlers are obsessed with ice cream, so it’s little wonder that Tomy’s Foam Cone Factory is such a popular bath toy with kids over 18 months. Fun and colourful, it attaches via a sucker to the wall, and comes with plastic cones and a sprinkle shaker. Just take the top of the central ice-cream cone to fill it with bubbles and water before pulling the lever to create the foam cones. If we’re being really honest, the machine doesn’t produce the best foam ever, but this didn’t seem to dampen the excitement among kiddies when we tested it out at bath time. To say our children loved this toy is an understatement; it’s a brilliant bath toy for encouraging role-play and turn taking.

Buy now from OnBuy

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