There’s more to bath time than bubbles. The daily bath is an ideal time for focused interactive and creative play with children, and many toys even have an educational slant.

If your toddler is averse to getting wet, you might want to invest in some particularly interactive and engaging toys to keep them distracted while they’re having their hair washed.

When choosing toys, it is also worth considering how long they are likely to last – are they mould resistant or easy to clean – and whether they are free from chemical nasties and suitable for teething babies.

We have picked a selection of toys ideal for fun, creative and educational play, for ages from birth to pre-schoolers and beyond.

Djeco fishing ducks: £16.45, Crafts4kids

A more challenging game for toddlers – and a creative spin on the theme of rubber ducks. From the French toy brand Djeco, this game is for ages two plus, but we found the fishing with rods and hooks more successful for older children. Not that littler ones won’t enjoy floating the bright coloured ducks in the water, and the numbers on the bottom of the ducks mean they’re good for learning to count, too.

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Tomy Toomies turtle bath salon: £20, Boots

From toy giants Tomy, the turtle bath salon is brilliantly inventive. Fill the cup in the turtle’s flipper with bubble bath and water, tip his head back, pour in the liquid and pull the lever arm backwards and forwards to give the octopus a new foamy hairstyle. Comb or blow away and then use the octopus as a squirter. Much amusement for 18 months plus.

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Cuddledry alphabet foam letters: £10.99, Cuddledry

These pastel foam letters are a great way to encourage pre-schoolers to learn the alphabet. There are 40 letters to stick to tiles and the bath so children aged three and above can start experimenting with making words and reading while soaking in the tub. A mesh bag allows drainage and storage on the bath.

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Edushape floating blocks bath toy: £19.80, Amazon

Lure reluctant bathers into the water with this set of colourful, lightweight foam blocks that children can build into creative constructions upon a floating base. It’s impressive how even in choppy water the varying foam shapes stick together to keep towers standing. It might seem pricey, but it's worth the investment as the set will last and amuse children from 18 months through to primary school age. What’s more, the foam is resistant to mould, does not absorb water and retains its shape. Complete with net drainage bag. 

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Cuddledry cuddleduck: £10.99, Cuddledry

This is our favourite rubber bath duck for babies, made with child safe paint and natural rubber that’s phthalate-free and non-toxic, it’s safe for teething babies to chew, and there’s no hole to allow the build up of mouldy water. The eco-friendly rubber’s naturally antibacterial properties means the cuddleduck is perfect for sensitive skin and is soft and easy for baby hands to grip. Choose from neutral beige, blue or pink polka dot. The duck also comes in a gift box.

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Jojo Maman Bebe skip hop stack and pour buckets: £12, Jojo Maman Bebe

These bright coloured buckets decorated with friendly animal designs provide endless amusement as babies and young toddlers can pour them over and over and watch the water drain in three different sprinkle effects. For children aged nine months plus, the buckets are suitably sized for little hands and perfect for building motor skills. 

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Infantino whale bubble ball bath: £14.99, Amazon

Children love ball pits and Infantino has turned the concept into a practical inflatable bath tub with a cute whale design – and it's excellent value. For babies from six months (or whenever they can sit up unaided) to 24 months, it's light and easily portable. Ten floating balls are included.

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Vital Baby stick & slide bath toy: £7.99, Vital Baby

The family-run brand Vital Baby make award winning baby feeding equipment and BPA-free toys. Their fun stick and slide set keeps children from 18 months busy in the bath and encourages hand to eye coordination and imaginative play. Stick the slides to the side of the bath to create a water park for a cute squirting duck and frog to shoot down on skis. With the two slides and two squirters, it’s perfect for siblings bathing together and is great value. Made from safe BPA, latex and phthalate-free materials.

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British and Bespoke wooden balloon boat toys with personalised gift bag: £7, Not On The High Street

Not all bath toys have to involve plastic. We love the simplicity of these traditional wooden balloon powered toy boats available in green, orange or blue. They come in personalised cotton bags, so make ideal gifts.

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Babipur sophie the giraffe bath toy: £11.99, Babipur

Sophie the Giraffe is a favourite teether for babies. Shaped like a rubber duck, she’s been transformed into a floating bath toy for littlest bathers. Part of Sophie’s "So Pure" range of natural and organic products for babies, this is made from 100 per cent rubber from the hevea tree with food grade paint, and there’s no hole for water to get into and go mouldy. It’s an ideal size for little hands to grab onto.

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Infantino senso' tub o' fun squirters: £9.98, Amazon

What’s clever about this set of four fun, squirting aquatic bath toys – frog, seahorse, octopus and turtle – is that they can be pulled apart to enable cleaning from mould build up. They’re also good for encouraging the imagination since the pieces mix and match. For six months and above.

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Alex world map in the tub: £11, Fun Learning

If you’re looking for a bath toy with an educational slant, this map of the world puzzle is a good purchase. The 29 chunky colourful foam pieces depicting iconic animals and landmarks float in the water, then stick to the tiles when wet creating a fun geography lesson. There’s a mesh bag for easy tidy up, drying and storage.

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WOW Toys pip the pirate ship: £13.99, Wow Toys

WOW are renowned for their interactive, battery-free toy vehicles that inspire imaginative and creative play. Their latest bath toy is a pirate ship complete with turning steering wheel, and the favourite feature among our tiny testers: a water-squirting cannon. There’s also a removable pirate figure and skull and crossbones sail that doubles up as a water scoop. With no small parts, PVC, toxic paint, or BPA, it’s suitable for one to five-year-olds.

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VTech splash & play elephant: £21.99, Argos

There are plenty of interactive features on this all-singing-all-dancing elephant toy, so it’s the best choice for distracting those toddlers 12 months plus who are most resistant to hair washing. Attached to the side of the bath, it features a light up snorkel button for sounds and phrases encouraging cleanliness and counting, four songs and 15 jolly melodies, plus a spring back seahorse, spinning starfish, wobbling water container, twisting foot, sliding leg and scoop accessory. Best of all the elephant sprays water from its trunk.

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The verdict: Bath toys

For a great spin on the traditional rubber duck, our best buy is Djeco's set of fishing ducks which keep older preschoolers occupied with a challenge, while bringing colourful fun to younger toddlers' bath time. They also keep mould out. For babies, we love Cuddledry’s baby-safe cuddleduck with its sweet polka dot design. Vital Baby’s bath toy slick & slide is great value and is as fun for older toddlers as younger ones, although you might need to replace the squirters if they become mouldy.

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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