I’ve never really been a fan of our boys’ tub toys. Maybe it’s because I’m the one who cleans the tub. Maybe it’s because I don’t really care for clutter in general, especially the bright plastic kind. And I especially don’t like slightly gross plastic toys that never quite dry out. We had a mesh basket in the corner of our tub that suctioned to the wall and held all of the tub toys. If the toys were put into the basket so that they drained, they would dry out pretty fast. But often they were put in with water still in them and in a way that prevented draining. And no matter how they were put in, I still had to move the whole basket to clean under it when I cleaned the tub, and the toys never really seemed clean. We have hard water that leaves gunk on the tub and anything in it. I can scrub it off the tub with some baking soda and a lot of elbow grease, but the toys were a lost cause.
Anyway, last week I was cleaning the tub and moving all the toys and I had an ah-ha moment. We don’t need tub toys. Nope, we sure don’t. There’s no rule that says that bath time has to involve a bunch of boats and ducks. We tend to do quick in-and-out baths anyway, which can be done without any toys at all.
So I gathered up the toys and moved them. Some got donated, some got trashed, and some got moved out to the wading pool on our patio (which gets a whole lot more use than the bathtub, so they might as well be there anyway). The mesh tub basket is now in our Goodwill donation pile. And my tub is nice and clean. All that’s on the edge of it is a single bottle of Dr. Bronners soap and a plastic cup that we use to rinse the boys off.
So. Much. Better.
Why didn’t I think of this a long time ago? I’ve never bought any tub toys, but people had given them to our boys as gifts. And even though bath time isn’t much of a production around here (we’re more into just get clean and be done with it), I dutifully kept the tub stocked with several plastic toys, because that’s just what you do, right? This is the tub that we use too, since we have a shower filter and I like to fill the tub for the boys from our shower head (the other bathroom doesn’t have a shower filter). It’s so much nicer to have a clean, uncluttered tub for all of us to use. And the best of the tub toys are now getting plenty of use in the wading pool out back. The boys have barely noticed that there are no toys in the tub anymore. It’s a win for everyone.
Do you like tub toys? Do you limit the number you have? Keep them somewhere else and bring them to the tub at bath time? Or have you taken the “who needs em?” approach too?
I know this is not what you want to hear, but as much of a hassle that those tub toys are, they are a treasure in getting boys to take a bath. I too have been impaled by many a Power Ranger in the tub, but at least I never went through the hassle (or horror story that I heard from co-workers) of him refusing to take a bath for a few days to a few weeks on end during the upper elementary/early junior high years.
Jennifer @ kidoing! says
We’ve always had tub toys kept in a basket with holes on a built-in shelf in our shower/tub. However, the older the kids get they less they ask for them. Baths have gotten faster, too, and sometimes they just take a shower (which doesn’t give them any play time). And, what I’ve found is that they’d rather have a shorter bath and longer time for bedtime stories. I have been thinking for a while that I would take them out. We’ve paired them down over the years to get rid of the moldy ones…think I will do that again and see what we’re left with!
Economies of Kale says
I think sometimes the best bath toys are simple things like cups and washcloths, at least that’s what I remember playing with as a kid :)
We do have some tub toys, only plastic ones that have noway of water going in (and staying) inside.. It’s a mix of beach toys plus some hard plastic ones.
We used to have those that did allow water inside and couldn’t be squeezed out completely and that drove me crazy.. Those had to go!
I really like the idea that my daughter can create her own stories and pretend-talk to the toys while in the bath water. It unwinds her from the day.
My kids love their bath toys and I love watching them make up games. There is a lot of giggling :) We have a basket with holes to drain and dry and they are allowed to pick a couple of toys. My oldest is outgrowing them but he still has days where he wants to play.
Frugal Babe says
Just to clarify things a bit, our four-year-old almost always takes showers these days, and our one-year-old usually just takes a shower with me. He sits on the floor of the tub while I get myself clean, and then I clean him and we rinse off together. It’s a five to ten minute process for both of us. So the bath toys really are getting a lot more use outside in the wading pool.
I have no kids (yet), but I was just thinking about this the other day. I’m hoping to do more sponge baths with a quick rinse than actual baths. And I like water play, but I dislike the idea of filling a tub daily or so with that much water to do something we could do with less. I am not sure I’d do the tub toy thing, but I could definitely see having toys and a wading pool that we’d leave filled and use regularly.
Lucky! I can’t even get our baby into the bath without her screaming her head off. At almost 7 months we’re still doing sponge baths.
We got rid of most of ours–they were those soft squeezable ones with holes in the bottom that are impossible to empty and clean completely, and they grew the dreaded “black stuff” inside, so that was that, out they went. (Saw a news clip online a while ago about those, the black stuff is not just mold but also bacterial growth, including fecal bacteria–ick.) We now have just some plastic fish and a fishing rod, for days when bathtime can be a little leisurely.
I absolutely HATE tub toys. Had finally gotten rid of ours, then my mom got my younger two more for Christmas last year. :( Think I may donate those soon. They do just fine in the tub with just a couple of measuring cups.
Frugal Babe says
Yep, less is definitely more when it comes to tub toys. Our hair-rinsing cup and a washcloth are plenty. :-)
Sandy Powell says
We only have a small cup and one rubber duck for our daughter. She also loves to play with the wash cloth. We’ve never had a bunch of bath toys and our daughter has always loved bath time.
Katy Rose says
I’m 22, an only child and after 4 years at University, I’ve come home to find the tub toys from my childhood still in the basket beside the bath. Can’t believe my parents haven’t moved them! I’m going to go clear them right now!
Oh my goodness, that’s pretty funny! And a perfect example of how we just get used to the stuff around us and don’t really see it anymore. I’m sure they’ll be glad to have it cleaned out once you’re finished!