Move over rubber duckies, there are new bath toys in town! Whether bath time is part of your nightly routine, or you feel lucky to squeeze it in once a week, the time your child spends soaking in the tub is a learning experience. Even the youngest children are learning all the time, especially in everyday moments like bath time.

In her writings on child development, Dr. Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of self-directed and hands-on activities for learning, and what better place for that than the bath? Not only are the types of toys important, but how they are introduced and displayed is key as well. It helps to limit the number of bath toys out at one time, as fewer toys will encourage deeper and more creative play—simply rotating bath toys every few weeks will help keep their interest night after night. Also, creating a space for the child to put away their own toys is an added opportunity for independence, and there are many tub storage options that are free standing or that hang on the tub.

Related: 25 safe bath toys babies and toddlers will adore

Here’s what to look for when choosing the right Montessori bath toys

Purposeful Engagement: Montessori philosophy thrives on toys that serve a purpose. Look for bath toys that engage your child’s senses and stimulate their curiosity. Think about toys that offer opportunities for pouring, scooping, and exploring water movement.

Simplicity Rules: Montessori values simplicity. Seek out bath toys that are uncomplicated, avoiding flashy lights or excessive features. Toys that reflect real-world objects or natural elements can be winners.

Open-Ended Play: Montessori encourages open-ended play, where kids can use their imagination to take the lead. Look for bath toys that can be used in various ways, sparking creativity and adaptability.

Sensory Appeal: Montessori emphasizes sensory development. Opt for bath toys that appeal to different senses—textures, water sounds, and even temperature variances can make for engaging play.

Safety & Quality: Prioritize well-made toys that are safe for bath-time use. Ensure they’re free from harmful materials, designed with rounded edges to avoid any accidents and free from holes that can take on water and harbor mold.

Realism: Montessori loves to bring the real world to play. Seek out bath toys that mirror items found in the bathroom or everyday life. This could mean tossing in regular cups and ladles, or providing toys like boats and plastic animals.

Independent Exploration: Montessori encourages independent play. Look for toys that your child can manipulate and explore on their own without constant guidance. (Though since it’s bath time, you’ll still be there at the ready!)

Durability: Montessori toys are meant to last. Invest in bath toys that can handle the wet environment and won’t fall apart after a few uses.

Connection to Nature: Montessori philosophy values a connection to nature. Consider toys that evoke the natural world, like animals that live near water or toys made from safe, natural materials.

Minimalism: Keeping in line with simplicity, opt for a few well-chosen toys that can offer multiple avenues of exploration rather than a bath full of clutter.

Montessori bath toys: Our top picks

Motherly rounded up eight of our favorite Montessori bath toys to help you turn bath time into an engaging part of your child’s day.

mushie stacking cups, one of motherly's favorite montessori bath toys

Stacking Cups

Just like many other Montessori materials you come across, these seem almost too simple, yet they are one of the more versatile toys that can be used for years in the tub. The cups can allow practice pouring, scooping, measuring—and you can add a few items from the kitchen like measuring spoons or a funnel for the opportunities for exploration to continue to grow.

Boon Bath Building Toy, one of motherly's favorite bath pouring toys

Pipes, Cogs and Tubes

This colorful and inviting toy allows your child to showcase their creativity in the tub, while also learning about cause and effect. The parts can be put together to make endless shapes for water to work its way through, allowing your child to investigate for themselves why water cannot run up the pipes or why pieces can’t fit together certain ways. You can purchase additional pipes, cogs, and tubes to make even more of a challenge.

sea animal figurines, , one of motherly's top montessori bath toys

Realistic Sea Creatures

Typically, when selecting a Montessori material you want it to be as natural as possible, but due to the nature of bath time many toys will need to be made of plastic in order to not be damaged by repeated water exposure. If you choose plastic toys, choose ones that are as realistic as possible help the child to relate and process the world around them. Animals that look close to the real thing will provide language opportunities as well!

Munchkin 36 Bath Letters and Numbers for bath time

Numbers and Letters

A classic material in a Montessori preschool classroom is the Movable Alphabet: a large box of letters that a child can use to write out words and stories before they are able to use a pen and paper. Being able to see and feel the shape of each letter, instead of just seeing it on paper, provides an opportunity for a deeper connection to letter shapes. These foam numbers and letters are a great way to get even more exposure to our alphabet and numerical system!

Sassy Whirling Wheel Waterfall, a great bath pouring toy for toddlers

Water Wheel

A water wheel is a great addition to bath time. This simple toy helps your child practice fine motor skills, learn cause and effect, and can be used in conjunction with other scooping and pouring toys.

Munchkin Bath Beats Bath Toy Gift Set

Munchkin Bath Beats Bath Toy Gift Set

Who doesn’t love a little music while relaxing in the tub? This five-piece set includes a stingray xylophone, an octopus drum and two starfish shakers, perfect for little ones to work on their rhythm and beat-making skills.

Constructive Playthings Water Set, one of motherly's top montessori bath toys

STEM Water Play Kit

This STEM set includes a wide variety of things that are adaptable enough to use for years to come. With three different sized jugs, spray bottles, measuring cups and spoons and even a set of funnels, your child will be working on their fine motor skills while finding creative ways to play.

puj nubs, a creative montessori bath toy


Although not a bath toy, these peel and stick hooks will allow your child some independence around their bath time. They are perfect for hanging a small towel or washcloth at child-height. To provide even more opportunities for your child to take control of their own bath, putting small amounts of soap and shampoo in travel containers is perfect for little hands, and helps control the amount poured out.

 This article was originally published April 6th, 2021. It has been updated.