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12 best bath toys for babies and toddlers

Looking to make bath time a fun and educational experience? One of these parent-recommended best bath toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers could be just what you need.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Apr 14, 2023

Toddler playing in the bath

Bath time can be a special time for you and your baby. A bath can not only help to calm and relax your baby before bed, but it can be a great bonding experience too. The best baby bath toys will encourage babies to learn, experiment, and have fun from the earliest weeks, while the best bath toys for toddlers will continue the fun and learning for years to come.

As with the best baby toys, different bath toys will be enjoyed at different ages and development stages and will boost different skills. Some baby bath toys are suitable from birth, so you can start with some straightforward floating objects to catch your newborn’s eye. 

From around six months, or when your baby has learned to sit and has possibly outgrown their baby bouncer, you can move on to toys that fill and pour, before introducing toys and games to keep their interest as they get older. And, whilst your child is happily engaged and distracted with their toys, it makes it far easier for you to focus on essential bathing jobs like hair and body washing, avoiding unwelcome bath time tears – just make sure the water is right for your little one first, the best baby thermometer can help with this.

But with so much available on the market, which bath toys are the best for your baby or toddler? We've delved into the Mumsnet forums to find out what the real experts - the UK's largest online network of parents - think of the best bath toys currently on offer, from budget-friendly options to stimulating STEM bath toys, foam makers and light-up options.   

Here are the best bath toys UK for 2023.

1. Best overall bath toy: Nuby Foam Bath Letters and Numbers

Nuby foam letters

Price on writing: £6 | Buy now from Wilko

Key specs

Age suitable from: 3 years | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages letter and number recognition
  • Simple design
  • Great for boosting sibling play and interaction

What to know

  • Only one set of each letter and number

What Mumsnet users say

“Foam letters! They stick to the sides when wet. The kids love them and they’re great for building familiarity.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user ratussbaguss

“The foam letters for playing in the bath are great.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Mrstumbletap

Our verdict

Nuby's Foam Bath Letters and Numbers are ideal for children wanting to practice their counting and ABCs, offering an educational and entertaining way to spell out their name or keywords whilst happily playing in the tub. This bold, bright set from Nuby comes at an affordable price and includes 26 letters (A to Z) and 10 numbers (0 to 9).

While they are recommended for children aged three and over, Mumsnet users say that foam letters can also be a great way for younger toddlers to interact and learn in the water. The only downside? You’ll need somewhere to store them once bath time is over and, unlike some more expensive designs, this particular set doesn’t come with a net storage bag. 

They're also great for distracting a fussy baby while you wash them too – don't miss our guide to the best baby shampoo and body wash too, to make bath time that little bit easier.

Read next: Potty training? Check out the best potties to buy, as recommended by Mumsnetters

2. Best budget bath toy: Nuby Fun Watering Can

Nuby watering can

Price on writing: £6 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 6 months plus | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Appeals to a wide range of ages
  • Also a great toy for the paddling pool

What to know

  • Some reviewers said it's smaller than expected

What Mumsnet users say

“Plastic jug, cups, watering can and a colander are favourites here!”  (Type of toy tried and tested by Mumsnet user BlueEyedFloozy)

Our verdict 

Toy watering cans are always great fun for young children, who will love dunking them under the water to fill them up, before tipping and watching the water sprinkle back out. 

Suitable for babies aged six months and above, the Nuby Fun Watering Can has a bright and engaging design and easy-grip handle, perfectly sized for little ones to hold. 

Enhancing their sensory development, the Nuby Watering Can helps build hand-eye coordination and teaches children about cause and effect (making it an ideal toy for 9 month olds in particular) as they watch the bubbles wash off their skin by tipping or tilting the can. 

3. Best bath toy for 6 months plus: Green Toys My First Stacking Cups

Green Toys stacking cups

Price on writing: From £13 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 6 months | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages colour recognition
  • Made from 100% recycled plastic

What to know

  • Smaller cups can be lost easily

What Mumsnet users say

“Stacking cups will be played with in the bath for years.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user MeridanGrey)

“I second the stacking cups! My nearly one-year-old daughter loves them and they keep her entertained for ages!” (Type of toy vetted by Mumsnet user Firefly111) 

Our verdict 

In the bath, stacking cups can be used for filling, pouring and splashing – great for improving their motor skills and for teaching cause and effect. And, of course, they’re also brilliant for pouring a gentle stream of water onto your baby’s tummy while they squeal with delight.

This set of six cups, in muted colours, is made from 100% recycled plastic, are BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free, and can even go in the dishwasher for cleaning.

They're also great for playtime on dry land too – just pop your baby in their playpen and watch their delight at the towers they build while developing their sensory skills.

4. Best bath toy for babies: Cuddledry Babysafe Bath Duck

Cuddledry Cuddleduck

Price on writing: £13 | Buy now from Not On The High Street

Key specs

Age suitable from: Newborn (supervised) | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • No holes which means no trapped bacteria
  • Can be used for teething

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

“If the thought of mouldy bath toys freaks you out, you’ll love the Cuddleduck. It is completely sealed so that it's safe and no water can get inside.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet writer Lucy Cotterill)

Our verdict 

With a muted polka dot design, it looks great on display in your bathroom and can quickly become a familiar friend for your baby’s bath time. 

Babies love the appeal of a floating rubber duck, but some bath toys can harbour germs and bacteria when water gets trapped inside. 

Unlike some traditional bath toys that can squirt water, the award-winning Cuddledry Cuddleduck has no holes, instead being made from one complete piece of natural rubber. As such, no water can get inside and it’s completely safe for your baby to grab and chew – becoming a handy toy for teething (in and out of the bath) too! Best of all it's suitable from birth, making it one of the best toys for newborns!

5. Best bath toy for role play: Tomy Toomies Foam Cone Factory

Tomy toomies foam cone factory

Price on writing: From £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 18 months plus | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages interactive play
  • Boosts imagination

What to know

  • Some reviewers reported the lever can be flimsy

What Mumsnet users say

We had an ice cream maker (bubbles). It has cones and a handle you pull to make an ice cream.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Spaceman101)

“We had the Tomy Foam Cone Factory – great fun.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user livingthegoodlife

Our verdict 

This toy attaches to the side of the bath or wall tiles using suction cups and comes with three cones to fill with ice cream bubbles. Just add water and bubble bath to the top, and children can pull the lever to fill the cones with foam and add pretend sprinkles with the sprinkle shaker.

The cones are flat-bottomed so they sit on the side of the bath while your child takes your next order. Whilst aimed at children 18 months plus, it’s great for older children too or for siblings to play together, encouraging imagination and role play, whilst developing their motor skills, making it a great all-rounder and one of the best sensory toys for babies when it comes to bathtime.

It’s worth noting that it may take a few pulls to kick start the bubbles when you first start using it and whilst the suction pads are fairly strong, you should encourage your child to be gentle so that it doesn't slip off the wall. 

6. Best bath toy for toddlers: Kitpas Bath Crayons

Kitpas crayons

Price on writing: From £8 (for 3 pack) - £20 (for 10 pack) | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 3 months plus | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages creativity
  • Mess free

What to know

  • Can break easily

What Mumsnet users say

Mine had special bath crayons they could draw on the side of the bath with.” (Type of toy suggested by Mumsnet user JustLikea)

Our verdict 

If you spend your life begging them not to draw on your walls and furniture, let them go doodle-crazy in the bath instead.

You can buy bath crayons anywhere but these, by Kitpas, are really worth shelling out on. They're designed with an ergonomic grip and are chunky enough to keep hold of, even when wet. Suitable from three months, these crayons promise to keep your little one entertained from early babyhood well into the time they've started charging around with their best baby walker (we aren't promising the first pack will have lasted that long, mind!)

And the best news for parents, they wash off easily too. Phew! We’re sold.

7. Best bath toy for creative play: Buddy & Barney Silly Faces Bath Stickers

Buddy & Barney Silly Faces Bath Stickers

Price on writing: From £14 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 3 years plus | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Appeals to a wide range of ages

What to know

  • Small parts can get lost or stuck in plughole

What Mumsnet users say

“I struck gold with the funny faces bath stickers - foam pieces which make faces.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user GriefBacon)

Our verdict 

If you’re after a bath toy for older children or for siblings to play together, these Silly Faces Bath Stickers – large foam pieces that float on water and stick to the bath tiles when wet – are sure to have them laughing out loud.

The set comes with two large faces and a range of different features including eyes, noses, mouths, glasses and hairstyles, so children can get creative and use their imagination to create the most hilarious combinations. 

Best of all, the set comes with a mesh storage bag to stash away all the pieces when bath time is over, which can then be hung with suction pads to allow the pieces to dry. 

Looking for more ways to encourage baby development while having fun at the same time? Don't miss our guide to the best tummy time toys according to Mumsnet users.

8. Best boat bath toy: Green Toys Ferry Boat With Cars

Green Toys ferry boat

Price on writing: From £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 3 years plus | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Appeals to a wide range of ages

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

“Green Toys boats are great.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user RedwineforSantaplease)

“Green Toys boats are loved here!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user ValiaH

Our verdict 

Every bath time needs a really good boat and we love this ferry by Green Toys that’s sure to remind them of holidays to France or the Isle of Wight.

It comes with two toy cars to load up, a slide-out ramp and a cargo bay that unclips for fuss-free washing. As for design, it's easy to grip in the bath, and it generally feels really solid – we think it will last for years. It's also pretty versatile as bath toys come so you may well find it relocating to your baby play mat or playpen when bathtime's over!

Best of all, Green Toy has great eco credentials for those of us conscious about the amount of plastic piling up in our houses. It’s made from 100% recycled milk bottles and even comes packaged in recycled (and recyclable) materials using soy inks.

For your peace of mind, it contains no BPA, phthalates or PVC, and it goes in the dishwasher so is easy to keep clean. We can certainly get on board with this little boat. 

9. Best bath toy which lights up: Iggle Piggle’s Lightshow Bath Time Boat Toy

Iggle Piggle lightshow boat

Price on writing: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 12 months to 5 years | Batteries required: 3x AAA batteries required

What we love

  • Soothing lights
  • Encourages shape recognition

What to know

  • Pricey

Our verdict 

Toys that light up under the water are absolutely magical, particularly for children who feel a bit stressed in the bath or benefit from sensory toys.

Is there anything more relaxing than In the Night Garden’s Iggle Piggle floating down the river in his boat? It’s a sight that has reduced most parents to tears of gratitude at least once in the early evening.

Iggle Piggle’s Bath Time Boat Toy has an ever-changing light-up pattern in three LED colours that create a soothing glow under the water that children seem to find really relaxing – perfect for a quiet bath before bedtime. 

The boat also has a shape-sorter with foam shapes that float in the water, and Iggle Piggle himself also comes in two parts to act as a water-pouring toy.

“Round and round a little boat, no bigger than your hand. Out on the ocean, far away from land…”

10. Best STEM bath toy: Tomy Boon Pipes Bath Toy

Tomy Boon pipes

Price on writing: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 1 to 4 years | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages problem solving
  • Appeals to a wide range of ages

What to know

  • Suction cups can be temperamental

What Mumsnet users say

“We have the stick on bath pipes which the children love.”  (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Teddyreddy)

“I got these for my daughter last Christmas. She still loves them (now aged four-and-a-half).” (Recommended by Mumsnet user INeedNewShoes

Our verdict 

We love this set of five colourful plastic pipes – a fun STEM-themed bath toy that will encourage would-be plumbers and tiny engineers everywhere.

They stick to the side of the bath or tiles with suction cups, then you siphon water through them, either individually or by using them together. Older children will love connecting the pipes in different ways to change the path of the water. 

Each pipe does something slightly different to keep their interest. If they’re popular, you can buy a couple of sets to expand the play and increase learning – they work particularly well with the Tomy Boon Cogs set.

Complete their post-bath bedtime routine with our guide to the best baby toothbrush, as recommended by real parents.

11. Best bath toy for entertainment value: Tomy Splashy the Penguin Bath Toy

Tomy Splash penguin toy

 Price on writing: £17 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 1 to 4 years | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Appeals to a wide range of ages
  • Cute and funny

What to know

  • Not suitable for babies under one

Our verdict 

With colourful features and a friendly face as well as a large button that’s easy enough even for small fingers to work, he makes an ideal bath time pal for children aged one and above.

A cute wind-up toy with a few extra surprises, Splashy the Penguin swims around the bath when you turn the dial, gargles when on his front and hums “Row Row Row Your Boat” on his back. A perfect way to cheer up/distract your child if they're not a fan of hair washing or if you've had to use a baby nasal aspirator on them!

12. Best baby bath book: Colour Me: Who’s in the Pond? by Surya Sajnani

Colour Me bath book

Price on writing: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age suitable from: 1 to 4 years | Batteries required: No

What we love

  • Encourages creativity
  • Boosts colour and letter recognition

What to know

  • Younger babies under one may not get as much out of it

Our verdict 

Looking for your baby's first bath book? Books are a great way to bond with your child before bedtime and this delightful story of underwater life is a sweet bath time read that is perfect for part of your bath, book, bed routine. 

Best of all, as you submerge the black and white book in water, colours begin to emerge in the pictures as if by magic. The high contrast images are ideal for young babies whilst the simple words can help develop their language skills too. It’s also soft and robust enough for them to turn the pages themselves. 

Check out our guide to the best baby nail clippers to complete your stock of baby bathroom essentials.

Are bath toys necessary? 

If you’re on a tight budget, proprietary bath toys aren't a necessity and lots of parents will say they did perfectly well with just a couple of plastic cups, a colander and a whisk to whizz up the bubbles – which, incidentally, is great for helping young children strengthen their wrists in preparation for mark-making and early writing.

That said, some colourful bath toys can make a real difference, both in distracting your child while you get the necessary ablutions done and for adding a bit of fun and relaxation to their bath time experience. The bath is also a great place for learning through play and for getting a parent's full attention.

If your child goes through a stage of not enjoying bath time (and many do), a couple of new bath toys might encourage them into the tub. When you’re away or on holiday, seeing a familiar toy come out at bath time may also help them to feel more comfortable and secure.

Familiar faces and characters are generally very helpful for a child who’s bath shy. If it gets them into the bath when you can’t, then who are we to argue?

When should I start using bath toys?

Whilst some bath toys can be used from birth, to get the most out of your bath toys, we recommend introducing them from around six months of age. Whilst all babies differ in terms of their development, at six months your baby is likely to be able to sit up (either unaided or with support) and have good head control. This allows them to really play and explore their surroundings – and is often the turning point for babies who are more reluctant bathers!

Which bath toys are safe for babies?

Here are some things to consider when choosing the best (and safest) bath toy for your baby:

  • Age suitability - Products will usually have a minimum age recommendation, but you should also look out for products that are safe to use and appropriate for their age, including the CE mark. 
  • Size - Toys that are big enough for them to grab in their hands can enable them to fully interact. Remember that whilst some regular toys can go in the tub, regardless of your child’s age, make sure there are no tiny pieces that can get into the plug hole and block up your drains – calling out a plumber is a very expensive way to enjoy a nighttime bath.
  • Educational benefits - What learning experience does the bath toy offer? Will it help with a new skill or experience appropriate to your child’s age? The benefits of educational bath toys can include everything from developing and encouraging imagination and creativity to motor skills, understanding cause and effect and communication skills. 
  • Is it suitable for your bathroom? - It’s worth making sure that your bathroom can accommodate the toy. If it sticks to the wall next to your bath, for example, it will be no good to you if you have a freestanding tub perched in the middle of the room with no wall nearby. Some roll-top baths may not accommodate toys that hang over the edge.
  • Colour scheme - Toys that are colourful will appeal to children who are eager to play and engage with their surroundings and will be easier to spot in the water. Muted colour palettes can look nicer in a modern bathroom, whilst monochrome and contrasting colours are ideal for young babies. 
  • Storage - How easy is the bath toy to store when not in use? Does it come with a net or storage bag included or do you need to invest in a separate bath toy storage?

What toys are suitable for babies?

It’s fair to say that tiny newborns probably don’t need much – the experience of being in the water is stimulating enough. But by the time they reach 12 weeks, they might welcome something new in the bath.

Start with some very basic floating bath toys that your baby can watch as they bob in the water – great for encouraging them to track things with their eyes.

Also, make sure anything you give your child is safe to go into their mouth as the reality is, that that's the first place it will go. Look for lightweight objects that they will later be able to grab. Simple bubbles blown in the bathroom will catch their eye, and they might also like toys that light up underwater.

By the time your baby can sit up, fill-and-pour toys (cups to you and me) are good for encouraging interaction. Your child will enjoy having water poured on their tummy and seeing a cup go from full to empty.

Cups with holes in the bottom are fun too, so your baby can watch the water pour out. Some basic rubber ducks, boats or wind-up toys will encourage them to reach out and grab.

What toys are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers?

Familiar characters and toys with buttons to push or levers to pull will distract toddlers from the dreaded hair wash and help develop their understanding of cause and effect.

Start looking for bath toys that do things now, like light up, make a noise or move around, to capture your child's attention.

Once they can be trusted not to put everything in their mouths, creative toys like bath crayons are a great buy. Do encourage them to keep their artwork to the sides of the bath though – crayon marks don't tend to come out of the grouting.

Foam stickers or puzzles that have pieces that float in the water and can be pieced together on the tiled wall are sure to keep them busy. Foam numbers and letters, as they begin to recognise those, will provide a great platform for learning during playtime.

There are lots of small-world bath toys on the market, from sea creatures to pirate ships and more (watch out for any tiny pieces). STEM bath toys are available for all ages, but there are some particularly nifty ones for older kids – from bath cogs and gears to building toys and bath rain clouds that help them discover how the weather works.

How to store bath toys

Once you’ve got a few bath toys, you’ll want something to help keep them all together so that you prevent your bathroom from being annexed by small plastic sharks and pirates. No one likes stepping on a rubber duck in the shower, or having to clear out a space every time you want to get in the tub yourself. 

Opt for a baby bath toy storage solution that allows the toys to drain easily to prevent them from getting mouldy. While the most common option is a net with suckers that you attach to the bathroom wall, we’d recommend a bath toy organiser that's a little more sturdy, such as the Koo-di Scoop n Store Bath Toy Caddy.

You don’t need to break the bank though. A simple peg basket with drainage holes in it can be hung from your shower caddy. A drying rack left in the bath would also work just fine.

How do I keep bath toys clean?

Anything that sits in water runs the risk of becoming mouldy so you'll need to wash your child's bath toys regularly.

Give them a rinse and squeeze as much water as you can out of them after each bath, and then store them in a cool, dry place where they can drip-dry easily.

You’ll probably want to give them a proper wash every few weeks too. The easiest solution is to stick them in the dishwasher, which is hot enough to kill off any germs – or you can sterilise them in the same way you do baby feeding bottles.

You can also use diluted bleach – but be very sure you’ve rinsed it all off before giving the toy back to your child – or soak it in diluted vinegar overnight and rinse off.

The worst offenders are squeeze toys that take water in and then squirt it out because, inevitably, it never all comes out. You can, however, buy squeeze toys that are made in two halves to be opened up for cleaning now, like these Munchkin Bath Squirts or completely sealed units like the Cuddledry Cuddleduck

The alternative for those who are mould-averse is to simply replace your bath toys every few months, but the impact on the environment and your budget could be off-putting.

What is the best bath toy?

We think Nuby Foam Bath Letters and Numbers are the best bath toy currently available. Mumsnetters praise their versatility, affordability and their encouragement of interactive play. And they're educational too - win-win!

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real parents

First up, we sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users to get their feedback on their favourite bath toys for children of all ages, as well as the bath toys that they rate, recommend and have used with their own families.

We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsnetters highlighted products that they felt were poor quality, difficult to clean, didn’t work or simply weren’t well received by their children.

Expert opinions

Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products, CE marked products, or those that were well regarded in the marketplace.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best baby bath toys on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Argos and John Lewis to get wider consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.