Bath time should be fun – that way any little wannabe soap dodgers will feel more compelled to submerge themselves for a scrub up. Toys will keep children occupied – leaving less danger for tiny hands to start making potions out of your favourite Aesop products.

Good bath toys should be engaging, hardy, bright, amusing and educational. Many teach cause and effect depending on how the water is used. Others are a means of role play. 

But crucially, bath toys should be easy to dry. At the end of a long day it’s tempting to lob all the wet toys back in the basket, or leave them in the bottom of the bath, but that way mould lies. It’s crucial to dry toys off if you want them to last.

Bath toys range from the simple to the surreal. From cups to crayons and cakes, these are the best toys for bath time.

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If you balk at the idea of a child with crayons let loose in your bathroom – let us reassure you. These crayons are specifically designed for bath times – and clean off the sides without any elbow grease required.  And, unlike others on the market, they don’t get soggy and disintegrate within seconds of hitting the water. After two weeks of daily use by our three-year-old tester, these are all in one piece. We love the retro design of the crayons and covers – and are delighted that they float.

Squirting water is one of the best bits of bath time – as any child will show you. These are each quite big – a toddler will need two hands to use – but squeeze easily to release water. They are very tactile and are made from non-toxic rubber. Our two-year-old tester favoured the hedgehog with its spikes, but the other creatures including fox and elephant are uniquely designed to appeal to a child’s sense of curiosity about colour and shape. Make sure you empty them of all the water before retiring them for the night.

A light up bath toy? Yes, really. These little jellyfish light up automatically when they hit the water, before bobbing along on the surface. Suitable for babies aged six months and older, these are so exciting for smaller children and provide a really awesome sensory experience. We recommend dimming the lights for maximum effect.

Tea and cake anyone? This tea set, made of foam and stored in a net bag with suction cups (perfect for bathrooms) is a really clever idea and completely transfixes little ones. Once wet, the pieces stick to the walls of the bath and it won’t take long before a bright and beautiful scene is set. They float on water too, which is handy. What we were really impressed by was the sheer volume of confections and accoutrements within the tea set – 40 pieces – which included two cake stands, scones, milk jugs, tea cups, jammy dodgers and a slice of Battenberg.

As any bookworm can testify, reading in the bath is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And you can start your little one super early with this rather brilliant waterproof book featuring eight different creatures – one per page. It’s squashy, light and the illustrations are charming.

Don’t expect to detonate this fizzer without high decibel shrieks from the bathtub. Our testers – two three-year-olds in one tub – were beside themselves about what lay inside the fizzing seashell. The only drawback with this is that the exciting part of the toy is the fizz part, which is obviously not reusable. The mermaid is pretty cute though.

These phthalate and BPA free cups are about as simple a bath toy as you could get – and we mean that as a complete compliment. Cups which nestle into one another and are of a graduating size are a timeless classic. We love the muted tones of these four cups – plus lid  – perfect for families who want to maintain a chic-looking bathroom.

This activity bar, which attaches to bathroom tiles easily with silicone suckers, works really hard. Its primary objective is to teach toddlers about water flow; our two-year-old tester loved making the cloud drip water onto the beaming sun and making it spin. There’s also a bee which, when squeezed, can squirt water. The components are all detachable – and the colour palette is bright but with a matte finish, meaning it looks fun without being garish.

Suitable for babies aged nine months or older, this is not only easy to use but a really cool object. All it takes is the submersion of this bee into the bath; when it’s lifted out it will have transformed into an umbrella-shaped fountain. This process and the unexpected result is so appealing to smaller babies, but fascinates older toddlers too – our three-year-old loved it. It is PVC and phthalate free for peace of mind.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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