The right toys can transform bath time misery into one of the most special times of a child’s day. Stepping back from the need to wash your kids and thinking about how to make it a fun, educational space for kids to learn about themselves and the world around them in a new space can make the whole experience for you and your toddler more enjoyable.
What is a Montessori toy?
Maria Montessori, famed physician and educator is known for, and synonymous with the idea that children lean best through natural play. In other words, creating unscripted opportunities for kids to discover boundaries, experiment and discover more about the world around them without overly prescriptive toys and inputs.
Montessori toys are therefore a bit of an anomaly. In theory, everything (that’s safe at least) has the potential to be a Montessori toy. If it gives your toddler the opportunity to play freely, exploring without limits and without being prescriptive of what to do with it, you’ve got yourself a great toy. That’s why everything from cups to wooden spoons can make great toys for toddlers.
But Montessori toys have been co- opted by brands telling you things are Montessori when they’re not. Montessori toys don’t have to be made from a certain material like wood for example. There is crossover between simple toys that aren’t prescriptive in how to play with them and a lot of wooden toys, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of natural items, tools or purposely designed toys that encourage kids to explore the world around them naturally that don’t have to be made from ‘natural’ materials.
What makes a great Montessori bath toy?
1. The best Montessori bath toys are simple
Don’t over complicate the bath toys you need. Before you know it you’ve got stacks of plastic stored away that you’re never going to need and you’re kids are bored of the bleeping, flashing lights that you thought would really make bath time fun.
Instead, choose simple toys with varied uses that offer different games and play each bath time. Alternatively make use of household items that can be swapped in and out each bath time to keep things fresh and full of new excitement.
The problem with overly complex toys is that they often restrict the way a child can interact with it. It might be incredible for the first few goes, but after a short while, the novelty of the prompt and response will get boring for your toddler. Unless your child finds new ways to play with the same thing, they will respond less and less to the stimuli of the toy.
2. The best Montessori bath toys encourage learning
The point of all play in some form or another is to encourage learning. The Montessori way of encouraging learning is to allow more freedom in natural interactions with the natural world around them. That doesn’t just mean nature – it means whatever environment your kids are in. So when it comes to bathtime, it’s about using that time to encourage them to experiment with the water, understand what it does and how it behaves in relation to their own bodies.
Great Montessori bath toys should help kids discover more about themselves, water and getting washed.
3. The best Montessori bath toys put creativity first
The point of play without limits is to encourage creativity. A wooden spoon doesn’t sound like it compares at all to the fun of an all-singing, all-dancing light up bathtime toy. But it will encourage your kids to be pro-active in how they play and think up games that make use of the spoon.
Of course, not every ‘toy’ needs to push the bar of creativity that high – kids need to be shown how to use and grow their creativity. But stripping away toys that have a clearly defined, singular way to play with them in favour of toys that are only fun in conjunction with your kids imagination are far better.
The best Montessori bath toys for toddlers
Pebbl bathtime silicone scrub for toddlers
Our own bathtime silicone scrub is designed to get kids hands on in learning about how to wash themselves. It’s designed for kids hands, it’s soft enough for all skin-types, and it’s soap chamber means your toddler can take charge of washing themself.
It’s the perfect Montessori embodiment of kids learning to do things for themselves without overly prescriptive control. Pebbl gives kids a safe and fun way to start washing themselves without fuss and it shows that getting the job of washing done, isn’t separate from bath time play.
Quut bathtime puzzles and toys
The perfect way to encourage fun-filled bathtimes with minimal clutter and maximum creativity. The soft foam, build-your own toys are ideal bath time toys that encourage all sorts of imaginative games.
Plan bath boats
These wooden boats personify simplicity and encourage all sorts of fun, imaginative bath time games. You can even get them personalised.
Boon bath tubes
These are recommended so widely, but they really are an incredibly simple way to encourage active bathtime learning. With endless ways to connect them, they fit the bill for creativity.
Honeysticks bath crayons
The bath is a great mess opportunity for drawing with toddlers. And your tiles and bath tub are the perfect canvas. Honeysticks natural beeswax crayons are some of the best we’ve discovered – large, easy for toddlers to grasp and simple enough to apply, they show that art doesn’t have to stop at bathtime. We’ve found our Mushi cloths are the perfect way to remove the crayon at the end of bathtime too.
Green Toys bath boats
Another set of bath boats, made from recycled plastic this time, that will get your kids making up bath time adventures. With a wide range of different boats to choose from you can have multiple options. Plus they double up brilliantly as pouring toys (and are even a great substitute for a bathtime jug when it comes to rinsing out soapy hair).
Schleich sea animals
Schleich animals are far and above a lot of toy animal models. They are incredibly tactile to hold and the shapes and detailing make them feel super lifelike, The large sea animals make perfect bath time toys. We love this large blue whale that you can imagine feels enormous to a toddler at bathtime.