Best Bath Toy
Catch and release with the Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy. Using the colorful fishing rod, your little one can catch the three magnetic underwater sea creatures that float around the tub. For added fun, the reel makes an audible clicking sound when in use. We also appreciate that this toy can help strengthen hand-eye coordination as your little one endeavors to catch the "swimming" sea creatures.
The sea creatures are sealed and prevent water from entering. However, the pole and bobber have holes that collect water, which isn't ideal. From our experience, a good shake will help the water escape, but with nooks and crannies, we think there is a possibility that the remaining water may grow mold. Also, your tot may be disappointed that the line does not reel up like an actual fishing pole. Despite these drawbacks, we think your toddler will be hooked on this toy, and we recommend it to families who are ready for some bathtub fishing.
Explore the depths of the tub with the Green Toys Submarine. This sub can submerge or float, the propeller spins by giving it a turn, and water can pass through the toy's portholes and nose. Plus, the top handle makes it easy to hold and maneuver around the tub. It is 100% recycled plastic, free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates, plus it contains no external coatings. We appreciate Green Toy's commitment to manufacturing products from recycled material, keeping some plastic from ending up in the landfill.
The packaging states, "Toy opens for easy cleaning," and we did not find this to be the case during testing. The blue handle on top opens, but we were unsuccessful at opening the sub vessel. With limited view inside the ship, we feel this hinders proper cleaning and inspection of potential mold. Rinsing and thoroughly drying this product after each use and an occasional deep clean will help prevent mold growth. Despite the lack of access to the ship's inside, we believe this toy is fun and recommend it to families with an older baby or toddler who will appreciate this sub for bathtub adventures and imaginary play.
Don't be fooled by this toy's simplicity; The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys are a classic toy that will satisfy your child's desire to fill, pour, stack, and nest in the bathtub. The set includes eight colorful cups, and each container has one or more holes to scoop up water and create a waterfall. We also appreciate that the cups are quick to clean and dry and take up minimal space when not in use.
We don't see any major drawbacks to this option, except that there's more to look after with multiple cups. Fortunately, the set includes a flower-shaped clip to help keep the cups together and reduce the chance of misplacing one. Nevertheless, this toy is budget-friendly and offers endless possibilities for fun. We recommend this inexpensive option to any family with babies or toddlers.
The Boon Cogs Water Gears are five colorful gear-shaped toys that suction to the bath or shower wall and turn by hand or water. They can spin individually or link together. Our preschool-age tester had fun creating various gear configurations and learning how to suction them to the wall. To clean, rinse the gears after each use and allow them to air dry completely. Occasionally, wash them with warm soapy water, and we suggest keeping an eye out for mold.
Sometimes the suction power can be weak, and one or two gears will fall to the floor. The gears also have some nooks and crannies that require occasional cleaning, and we think a small brush helps with this task. We recommend this product for a budding engineer or a curious youngster who will enjoy getting these gears to spin.
Colorful and adorable, the Munchkin Bath Bobbers come in a set of two, and they float, bob, and spin around the tub like a synchronized duo. Both our baby and toddler testers enjoyed playing with these creatures, bringing smiles and giggles to bath time. We also appreciate that the bobbers are sealed, meaning there are absolutely no holes, nooks, or crannies for mold to grow - score! So if you're in the market for an easy-to-clean bath toy, this one is worth consideration.
Although we don't see any big drawbacks to this bath toy, our only observation is that the toys can easily float away out of the child's reach in a large tub. Our toddler was able to scoot after the toy, but our baby could not. We recommend this toy to families with babies or toddlers looking for a fun toy that is easy to dry and clean for parents.
Instead of stacking cups, consider the Boon Stacking Boats as an alternative. These boats (a set of five) float, scoop, pour and create a waterfall effect for endless entertainment. They're super easy to keep clean, thanks to no cracks or holes for mold to grow, and the plastic material makes them quick to dry by air or towel. Plus, as a stackable toy, they don't take up much room, and they're easy to stash when bath time is over.
This toy has no significant drawbacks, and our only observation is that some children may need help to differentiate the sizes to stack. We recommend the Boon Stacking Boats to families with babies or toddlers interested in an alternative to stacking cups.
Play a game of toss with the Nuby Floating Octopus. This toy is water-tight with no holes, nooks, or crannies for mold to hide, making it easy to clean and dry for parents. We believe this toy is fun for imaginary play, and we appreciate that this product will help your little one practice hand-eye coordination as your toddler places or throws the toss-rings onto the octopus's legs.
In our opinion, the hoopla toss-rings are too small and not suitable for young babies as our baby tester tried putting the fish in his mouth, which concerned us as a potential choking risk. The manufacturer states an age range of 18 months and older. We recommend using this fun toy without the toss-rings initially until your baby has passed the stage of putting objects in their mouth, and, of course, even later, only under close supervision. However, keep in mind that the Octopus itself is fun and whimsical, so we don't consider the toss-ring part essential for your toddler to enjoy this bath toy.
The Skip Hop Pull and Go Submarine Monkey will zip across the tub with a pull of the string. The submarine does not fully submerge. Instead, it floats. The sub's bright colors and adorable captain monkey is eye-catching for cuteness. This toy entertained our toddler tester, particularly with its ability to zip and zoom through bubbles. Our baby tester, too little to pull the string to activate the propeller, watched with a smile. The manufacturer mentions that this toy is excellent for strengthening fine-motor skills, which are needed to pull the line, plus it teaches cause and effect.
The toy has holes to let water through and allow the toy to sink a bit. However, we cannot access or see inside the holes to monitor potential mold growth. When you remove the toy from the tub, water collects in the holes, and it may need a good shake or flip from side to side to help water escape. Therefore, we think this product requires extra air-drying time compared to other products in our review. If you don't mind the extra effort to clear it of water, we think babies or toddlers will enjoy watching this monkey ride around the tub.
Why You Should Trust Us
The BabyGearLab team has been testing various baby gear over the past decade, purchasing and hands-on testing each product with real families and children. Our extensive knowledge and unbiased analysis provide you with the information and details you need to make an informed decision. Leading our review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor, as well as Nanny and Newborn Care Specialist with over 14 years of childcare experience. To assess which contenders are real standouts for bath time play, we also enlisted the help of multiple little testers, ranging in age from six months old to preschool.
Analysis and Test Results
To rank the competition, we evaluated each product's performance, paying close attention to ease of use, mainly cleaning and drying, along with easy storage.
Ease of Cleaning and Drying
The perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria is a wet and warm environment, and depending on a toy's design and care, they can become mold victims. Therefore, we prefer a bath toy that is simple to clean and quick to dry.
Some toys in our lineup that fit this profile include the Munchkin Bath Bobbers, Boon Stacking Boats, and The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys. These toys are of one-piece construction with few nooks or crannies, making visual inspection for grime simple, plus towel drying quick. However, toys that trap water despite an effort to shake and remove moisture, or toys with nooks and crannies and inaccessible areas, can make cleaning more challenging and potentially lead to mold growth. Some toys in our lineup that leave us questioning cleanliness include the Green Toys Submarine, Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy, and the Skip Hop Pull and Go Submarine. These toys either lack accessibility and visibility to adequately clean or have parts that collect and trap moisture. While we believe cleanliness is essential, we understand that some children are attracted to toys with more parts. We suggest keeping ease of cleaning and drying in mind when selecting a toy, and regardless of which one you choose, try your best to allow toys to thoroughly dry after bath time, which can decrease the chance of mold growth.
For this metric, we want to know which products are easy to store, an essential bit of information for families with small bathroom spaces, or those who would like to take back their bathtub space for a spa night. Of all the contenders, we tip our hats to the Boon Stacking Boats and The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys, which are champs in this realm. They nest within each other and conserve storage space. However, the Green Toys Submarine is one of the largest, followed by the Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy, which is long yet slim, and it includes three sea-creates to manage and keep together. Alternatively, the Boon Cogs Water Gears suction to the bath or shower wall, requiring no storage space at all.
Your baby's work is to play, and bath time is another playground for your little one to explore and learn. From imaginary play with water-loving creatures to filling and pouring with cups, we are confident there is a bath toy here that will meet your needs and budget. Soon enough, your little one will be splish-splashing and enjoying bath time with one of these top-notch bath toys.
— Molly Bradac