Bath time doesn't have to just be all about getting clean. Lots of babies and toddlers love their baths, and introducing bath toys can make bath time even more fun. It can even make a bath-phobic child actually want to get in. You might not want to spend a lot of money on bath toys, (after all they are only for the bath), and in any case, your little one may get bored with his bath toys once he's figured them out.
There is a vast array of fancy, fairly expensive bath toys to choose from, but in our opinion, the simplest and cheapest ideas are the best. Here are our favourite suggestions for bath time entertainment, but be warned, if your little ones end up having too much fun in the bath, you may have trouble getting them out!
Kids love to pour water from one object into another, and stacking cups with holes in the bottom are great fun. Your child may also enjoy drinking the bath water out of them, which probably isn't something to be too concerned about, but if you are worried, try offering a plastic cup of drinking water.
Rubber toys held under water and then squeezed to squirt the water out can be very entertaining (prepare to get a bit wet). The hugely popular TOMY Aquafun Octopals toy is a colourful floating bath island consisting of a mummy octopus pouring cup, and eight baby octopus water squirters that also stick to the sides of the bath.
The downside of squirting bath toys is that some children have difficulty working them and quickly lose interest. Also, because squirting toys have holes for water to enter and are difficult to empty fully, you may find they quickly develop black mould inside that's hard to shift.
For the mini artist in the family, it is fun to do some drawing and writing in the bath with special bath crayons. Or, if you have a child that is always reluctant to get in the bath, the opportunity to do some drawing in it might just do the trick. You will be left with a scribbly mess on the side of the bath that needs cleaning up, but it should wash off easily with a sponge and hot water.
The downside is some bath crayons reportedly leave stains on the sides of the bath and tile grouting, so read customer product reviews carefully before you buy.
You don't have to buy any bath toys if you don't want to. In fact your little one may have more fun playing with regular household objects in the bath than with his actual bath toys. There is much fun to be had filling empty shampoo and shower gel bottles with water and squirting the water out. Punch holes in the bottoms of empty plastic yoghurt and soup pots, and use them to scoop up and sprinkle water.
'Non-rubbish' household items can also double up as bath toys. A plastic sieve, measuring jug, watering can, colander, funnel and measuring spoons are all good for scooping, pouring and sprinkling water. Your child probably has some other toys that are suitable for bath time play, such as plastic toy animals, stacking cups and toy tea sets.
Lots of children also love to play with bubbles, so lather up the bubble bath as best you can. Why not make bath time a fun nursery rhyme singing session, perhaps focusing on water-related songs such as Five Little Ducks, Incy Wincy Spider and I Hear Thunder?
Here are a few more types of toys for a fun bath time experience:
You will of course need to store baby's bath toys out of the way in between uses, in a place where they can dry off to minimise mildew. There are many different bath toy storage options to choose from.
Choose a storage basket that fits neatly across the end of the bath, that is deep enough to hold lots of toys and also comfortably houses soap and shampoo bottles. Best of all, your child's bath toys are easily accessible – he doesn't have to stand up to reach them and he can easily put them away.
Of course, you don't have to buy a special bath toy holder. You can use an ordinary plastic basket, box, bucket or colander with holes to air out the toys.