I'll admit it: I have a love-hate relationship with bath time, especially if I'm short on the bath toys for babies and toddlers that make the whole process easier. Sometimes there's nothing sweeter than giving a baby a bath, but at the end of a busy day, I'm not always up for the soak-fest that's about to ensue. Because not bathing your children is frowned upon by most of civilization, I knew I had to find products to make bath time easier.
And once I found them, our nightly bath time routine became much more pleasant, and even a bit drier. From bath seats to bubble machines, from towels to toys, the right arsenal of gadgets, and products can simplify the job and make bath time more enjoyable for everyone.
I still have to do the dirty work – literally – but on days when bath time just sounds too exhausting, I try to remember that someday, in the not too distant future, my sweet and tiny little boys will take showers on their own with nary a squirt toy in sight. I'll be saying things like "Will you please stop leaving your wet, dirty towels on the hardwood floors?" and then, they'll be in college.
On second thought, let the splishy-splashy soak-fest continue. Here are 14 bath gadgets and gizmos to entertain your little ones and make things easier for you during bath time.
1. A Faucet Cover With A Built-In Thermometer
Whoever invented bathtubs clearly didn't have kids. Otherwise, they probably wouldn't have designed a hard, metal faucet that sticks out right at about head-high for the tiniest tub-takers. Protect your little one's noggin with this high-tech faucet cover that also tells you the water temperature, ensuring a not-too-hot, not-too-cold bath every time.
2. A Whale Of A Rinsing Cup
One of nature's cruel jokes on moms was to place eyes just a few inches below the hairline, thereby making the rinsing portion of bath time particularly painful. I keep my trusty pal Moby, a whale-shaped bath rinser, on deck to protect my two little ones' eyes from soap and suds when it's time to rinse off. Moby has also become a favorite bath toy, despite the dozen or so actual bath toys we keep in the tub. Hey, whatever works.
3. A Kid-Friendly Shower Head That Really Works
As babies turn into toddlers, the calming, nightly ritual of bath time becomes a necessity, thanks to all that food, paint, sunscreen, sand, and who knows what else caked all over their little bodies. For extra-messy messes (or nights when Mom is short on time), it can be quicker and easier to rinse your toddler off with a child-friendly shower head. Just stand, spray, and go. It's easy to connect to your existing shower head, and the height is adjustable for as your child grows.
4. A Baby Towel And Apron In One
Innovation isn't something you would expect from a bath towel, but the folks at Clevamama are pretty, well, clever. They created a wearable apron/bath towel combo that Mom puts on to keep dry from all that splishing and splashing, then converts to a hooded towel she can wrap around her baby when it's time to dry off. Because the towel is already fastened around Mom's neck, she can use two hands to safely take her slippery, squirmy little love out of the tub. Clever, right?
5. A Bath Seat Safe For Wobbly Babies
Babies learning to sit are so adorably clumsy with their little wobbles and wiggles and inevitable, slow-mo topples, but this stage can be challenging for bath time. For the baby who wants to be upright but isn't quite ready to sit unassisted, a bath support ring will help ease the transition. This was helpful with our first, but it was an absolute necessity with our second. It allowed me to bathe my messy little munchkins at the same time — saving me both time and sanity.
6. A Floating Bath Thermometer
Unless you live with Goldilocks, it can be harder than you might think to know what temperature your child's water should be. Case in point: I like my showers to be scalding, so the "right" temperature always seemed chilly to me, whereas my husband is the total opposite. This tortoise-shaped floating thermometer turns on automatically when it enters the water and shines red, blue, or green to tell you if your baby's bath is too hot, too cold, or just right – porridge not included.
7. An Inflatable Tub For On-The-Go
Going on a trip? You could load your giant, plastic infant tub into your car, or you could just make your life a lot easier and buy one of these inflatable, duck-shaped bath tubs that are both super functional and super adorable. We have one for each set of grandparents, plus one for our own getaways. You don't need to limit this cute little duck to vacations, though. It's a perfect — and cushy — solution for babies not quite ready for the wide open waters of your bathtub.
8. A Playful Washcloth
You know when the inventors of a product turn down an offer from Shark Tank, they feel pretty confident they have a sure thing. This is exactly what happened to the folks behind the SoapSox animal-themed washcloths, which feature a patent-pending soap pocket to produce maximum foam. Made of an antimicrobial material, each of the different washcloths features a playful character (think Taylor the Turtle, Harper the Hippo, and even Tank the Shark – get it?) that can go from play time to tub time, which is especially nice for little ones who don't love the bath.
9. A Bath Caddy That Stays Put
Part of the bath time ritual at our house includes me silently cursing whoever invented the suction cup, since not a single one has ever managed to stay affixed to our bathroom tile while holding bath toys. This Munchkin bath caddy features extendable sides to rest directly on your tub, eliminating the need for suction cups entirely. Pro-tip: Place this towards the front of your tub to prevent your little one from getting too close to the faucet.
10. A Multi-Stage Bathtub
Yes, it's possible to bathe a baby without a specialized tub, but would you really want to? This 4-in-1 tub makes bath time much easier, whether your little one is still tiny (psst, use the patterned sling to keep them cozy), ready to splish-splash unassisted (at which point you can just use the tub), or somewhere in between. It even features an included "Sit-Me-Up Support" bath seat for unsteady, but eager, sitters.
11. A Bath Kneeler That Keeps Things Organized
Yes, it's fun to watch your little one splash about, and no, there's nothing sweeter than a clean baby. But bath time isn't all good clean fun. Turns out hard, unforgiving floor tile can be absolute torture on your knees. Get yourself a cushy bath kneeler, so you'll be more comfortable scrubbing your little squirmer. This one features a foldable design for easy, out-of-the-way storage, plus pockets to keep bottles of soap and shampoo contained.
12. Bath Time Entertainment
At some point, as your baby grows, he or she will likely be all about baths for one reason and one reason alone — toys. And why not? If you've got to be in the tub anyway, you may as well have some fun stuff to play with. This 12-piece bath time play set is a perfect starter set, featuring toys that squirt, squeeze, and sprinkle, plus three washcloths. After all, your baby may be in it for the toys, but they do have to get clean while they're in there.
13. A Doubly Safe Bath Mat
Wet babies and wet bathtubs have one thing in common — they're both as slippery as butter. To help keep your precious little one safe from falls and bonks, make sure to line your tub with a no-slip bath mat. This one from Ollieroo has the added benefit of a built-in temperature indicator that changes colors if the water is too hot for your baby's sensitive skin.
14. A Bubble Blower For The Bubble Bath
This playful penguin bubble blower (try saying that three times fast) has 10 rotating bubble wands to turn your child's regular bubble bath into, well, a bubble bath with way more bubbles. Be sure to stock up on bubble solution, as this toy works both in and out of the tub. Take it outside to play, get messy, take it inside for bath time — and repeat.
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