Introduction to Bath Toys
Bath toys are simply toys you can take in the tub without damaging them, right? Well, not exactly. Not all lightweight toys float very well, and a constantly sinking or flipping ship can be a real downer for a young admiral. Some stores use the term "tubworthy" to indicate that an item is specifically designed to float upright. In addition, toys that make special use of the bath —either plain water or bubbles — can make the experience special and different from playing, say, in the sandbox. Here are some of the items that are available especially for play in the bath.
Artistic Bath Toys
• Tub Crayons or Bath Crayons or Soap Crayons - These are specially formulated art supplies made to be used in the tub and clean up easily. Some come with a holder that keeps them dry when not in use. They are non-toxic and can be used to draw on the tub itself, the tile wall, and in some cases, the child. Some sets are available with special art boards featuring outline drawings, if you prefer to have the drawing confined to a specific background.
• Tub paint - Fingerpaints for use in the bathtub make the “mess” of artwork easy to clean. Children can paint with their fingers or a sponge, and use colors separately or mix them to create new hues.
Games and Make Believe Play Bath Toys
• Activity Sets - For prompting imaginative play, activity sets provide a setting and a variety of characters, often making use of water and bubbles to provide interesting features such as waterfalls, dams, scoops, strainers, squirters, and elements that change when they get wet. One company offers a fishing set, with a pole and sea life to catch. Car washing and hair styling are two other activities you can find.
• Boats and Water Creatures - Features may include squirting capability and paddlewheel operation. Water creatures from both freshwater and ocean environments are available.
• Hoops - One form that tub-time entertainment takes is basketball: a suction-cup backed hoop attaches to the wall, and the child can toss soft balls through.
• Novelty Sponges - They begin as a surprise when the child immerses the gelatin capsule in water and discovers what shape is hidden inside. After that, they can become part of the child’s play or, depending on the size of the sponge, contribute to cleaning.
• Rubber Ducks - Ever popular, these toys are available with and without a squeak when you squeeze, and may be purchased singly, or in sets. Gone are the days when rubber duckies were all yellow: they are now available in many shades. There are also rubber ducks made to double as stress-release.
• Tub stickers - Foam stickers made to adhere to the sides of the tub or tile walls take imaginative play into the tub area. Various themed sets, such as vehicles, the garden, and fashion, are available.
Learning Activity Bath Toys
Learning activities for the tub include sorting, stacking, counting, and real-world themed activity sets. Children can read bathtub books, pretend to shave, or learn the alphabet and numbers with bath stickers or foam cutouts.
Musical Bath Toys
At least one company, Alex®, manufactures instruments to be played in the tub. Their offerings include a water whistle, water flute, water trumpet, water xylophone, and water drums. Not only are these instruments water-safe, but water can be used to change the tuning.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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