I’m a lucky mom (for many reasons), but in the context of this post I’m lucky because my kids love taking baths. It’s one less thing to fight about. However, the reason they don’t mind cleaning up is that it’s fun. It’s not the getting clean part they enjoy (Lena has tried to make me forget about that portion of the experience many times), but the playing. Entertaining a 4-year-old in the tub is very different from distracting an 8-month-old, but bath toys have come a long way since I was a kid (plastic cup and Dawn dish soap, anyone?), and I’ve got a whole array of toys to get the job done.
One of the best new additions to my arsenal is the Rubber Duckie & Friends shower head, from ConservCo Water Conservation Products, LLC. This item isn’t a true toy, but it looks like one, and I could see it easily fitting into the bath toy aisle of any toy store. It has made getting clean a much happier experience for Lena. I installed the Rubber Duckie & Friends shower head about two weeks ago, and every time Lena is done playing in the bath and ready to actually get clean, she raves about how awesome this thing is. “I love this Duckie shower! It makes the water so gentle and soft! It is SO awesome! I just love it so much!” Last night, she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. “When I have friends over for a sleepover one day, they can use this kid shower if they want to. They will love it!” I swear I was not previously washing her with sandpaper, but apparently, regular adult shower heads are harsh on small children.
Available in several styles, Rubber Duckie & Friends has a low 1.5gpm flow rate, and can be suctioned to the wall at an appropriate height for any size child. It can easily be used as a handheld shower as well. For kids who are not used to showering, it makes the transition from tub to shower much less intimidating. It was easy to install, and since it utilizes a two-way water-flow diverter, it doesn’t affect usage of the regular adult shower head.
Another of Lena’s tub favorites is the Tubby Table, from Tubby Table Toys Inc. We’ve reviewed this one previously, so I won’t go into further detail. Just know that Lena loves it, and it’s a great product. The only downside is that it takes up a (small) space in my bathroom, but so far, it’s been worth it.
Another great item for the big kids is Gelli Baff, from PlaSmart. This harmless powder soaks up to 400 times its weight in water, turning bath water into a colorful pool of goo. I’ll be honest here, Lena was not thrilled with how it felt to sit in this stuff, but she wanted to sit outside of the tub and play with it endlessly. I’m thinking you have to know your kids’ preferences to know whether they will enjoy sitting in Gelli Baff. When playtime is done, adding the dissolver thins the goo out so it can go down the drain. Of course, there is no staining of the child or the tub.
TOMY’s boon division has introduced boon Pieces and boon Links. In my opinion, the best feature of these products is that they are non-absorbent, and therefore don’t promote the growth of mold and mildew. Seeing that my son literally puts everything into his mouth, this feature is very important. I also love that these are good bath toys for a wide age range. While the Links 3D Foam Bath Puzzles are age graded for 12 months and up, and Pieces is for 18 months-plus, they are still fun for a 4-year-old to build and play with. They are also BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, and encourage motor skills and problem solving.
International Playthings recently launched the Beezeebee line, which includes an array of colorful and fun bath toys and puzzles. I especially like Zeeland, with which kids can create their own imaginary island in or out of the tub. The toys suction securely to any smooth surface, and four colorful friends fit in the holes and can squirt water.
Adora’s BathTime Babies are just adorable. This company knows cute. Each doll in this line comes in a “QuickDri” lycra swimsuit, and is machine washable, which is a really awesome quality in any toy. They each come with their own bathrobe and washcloth, and the new styles, Baby Bear and Baby Elephant, are too sweet!
For those looking for eco-friendly bath toys, PlanToys’ innovative new water-safe wooden toy line is exceptional. These toys are made from sustainable rubber wood and coated with a non-toxic finish. All of the impressively bright colors are made from vegetable dyes. The wooden toy fishing boat is my favorite.
Check back regularly for more commentaries from Jackie. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!