10 Wonderful Water Toys to Make Water Play Magical

Our favorite water toys

Playing with water can be so enriching for kids. I know the mess and spills can be scary. But, given the right environment and engaging water toys, it can be an enlightening, entertaining, and fun activity for all. 

I wasn’t into it right away. My children only played with water during bath time or at the pool or the beach in summer. And that was it. I knew they enjoyed playing at the water table at nursery, but I didn’t want to bring it into our house. Where would they play? Living room? Playroom? Sorry, but no way. They could keep doing it at school. (We live in an apartment with hardwood floors and don’t have a garden).

Water toys - Citric play setup

After some years, I decided to welcome it into our home. It’s been a slow process, but I highly recommend it. We love playing with Moluk toys at home, and adding them to water play has been great. This post will share my evolution, some tips, and our favorite toys.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you; when you buy through the links, we may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks! 

What is water play?

Water play involves, as the name says, water and the use of tools such as pots, containers, buckets, spoons, droplets, toys, etc., that allow children to scoop, splash, pour, float, submerge and explore their senses.

Benefits of water play

I am no expert; I am just a mother that loves connecting with her children and seeing them grow, learn, and have fun through play. But it is clear that it is fun and beneficial for children – they learn while they are having fun!

  • Develops hand-eye coordination
  • Introduces maths and scientific concepts

Water is a fantastic medium to explore, learn and demonstrate math, the properties of water, and scientific concepts: like measuring, space, solid vs. liquid, cold vs. warm, refraction, etc.

  • Enhances concentration and focus

You’d be surprised at how immersed they can be in the experience.

  • Develops motor skills and sensory exploration

– Fine motor skills – like squeezing droplets or using tongs

– Gross motor skills – pouring, carrying, splashing

  • When played with other children and grown-ups, it builds social and communication skills

Where to play at home

Bilibo - mini bilibos floating with balls

Always do what you will feel comfortable doing. Just because you see all those Instagram accounts with great setups in their house, you don’t have to do it like them (or like me). The children are happy with a jug and some water. Really. Do what feels right for you. Start with baby steps, and if you feel happy and want to go one step further, go ahead. Remember, if you want your child to enjoy it and have a positive experience, you must also be enjoying it.

Bathtub: The first place that comes to mind is the bathtub. Depending on the culture, you will probably bathe your child more or less regularly. For example, in Spain, it is done daily, in the UK people tell us every other day. So we’ve played a lot in the bathtub, and it is the first place I would suggest doing so.

Kitchen: Aside from the bathroom, it’s the only other room in our house with tiles. That’s why it was the other place to try, where they could play without actually being in the water. The game-changer for us was to get the Flisat table from Ikea. That piece of furniture opened my mind to sensory play, which was fantastic. But you don’t need it if you don’t have it. You just need a table and a deep tray. We have a large transparent tray from Tickit or my favorite addition, the PlayTRAY from Inspire my play. It’s fabulous.

Balcony: We have a small balcony in our apartment. During the pandemic, when we were in total lockdown for 52 days (yes, children were not allowed to leave the house for 52 days in Spain – crazy), that became an actual extension of our home and playground. You don’t need much stuff; you need a table and a deep tray. Or they can play directly on the floor.

Garden: If you are luckier than us, you will have a garden to enjoy water play outdoors more regularly. We play at grandparents’ or friends’ houses or during the summer. If they have grass, then it is just great! Any spills are fantastic for the plants. Outdoor water play can be so much fun!

Pool: Pools are also a great place to explore water play on a larger scale. They can develop gross motor skills, jumping, splashing, swimming… it is great fun.

Our favorite water toys

We combine a lot of Moluk toys, containers, and tools from Learning Resources for water play. Moluk designs toys that inspire imagination, stimulates the senses, and get children to move and explore. These toys are not just meant to play in the water; we use them all the time. So they are fabulous for water play as well. So let me show you our favorites and some of the things we do with them.

* We were gifted our Bilibos by my daughter’s Fairy Godmother for Christmas when she was one, and we love them so much that I’ve written posts about them and shared how we play on our Instagram account. As a token of appreciation, the brand sent us some new toys, which are excellent. Of course, I would not be sharing things I did not like (even if they were gifted). For this reason, I need to share them with you!

Bilibo minis

Bilibo - Bath Crab

These are the best! I’ve had them around since my eldest daughter was one year old, and we keep using them regularly. So what are bilibos, you may ask? Well, bilibos are versatile open-ended toys with a shell shape and two holes that will immediately charm children. They come in a set of 6 (we have the rainbow colors), and can be used for anything a child can imagine.

It awakens their curiosity, engages their imagination, and helps them playfully improve basic motor skills and balance. We played with them a lot in our early years during bathtime. I had them stationed there, and they were used every single day. First, they’d pour water from one to another, use them as tiny boats that float, or as a cauldron to make potions with soaps and foam. We’ve used them on our sensory table in the kitchen, PlayTRAY in the garden, and pool.

Bilibo seat

Bilibo - Pool Side

The Bilibo seat is the original Bilibo, the big brother of the minis, an open-ended child-directed play toy. Because of its dimensions, we’ve used it at the pool and the beach. It is one of our favorite outdoor toys, great for the whole family and all ages. But you could also use it in the bathtub sometime. 

There are so many things you can do with it (you can find more ideas here), but here are some examples of how we’ve used it during water play:

– Make it sink or float in the pool. 

– Stand on it in the pool and “surf” down to the deeper end.

– Let it float, and we must throw a beach ball or different-sized balls.

– We use it as a helmet and shield during water fights with water blasters or water balloons.

– You can carry water with it. 

– Store water balloons for a water balloon fight.

– (We’ve even used it as a bucket while washing the car).

Oogi

Oogi is a gender-neutral figure toy. It is made of elastic silicone with suction caps on its extremities. It attaches to the bathtub, bathroom tiles, glass, mirror, and pool. It is an action figure that can be stretched, thrown, and stuck almost anywhere with a smooth (and clean) surface. 

There are different shapes and sizes. We have the Oogi family and the Oogi bongo (my children love to play with water). They are all wonderful bath toys.

Pluï Rain Cloud & Sun

I wish we had used pluï earlier on with our children. They would have been even more fascinated by it during bathtime when they were younger. This magical little raincloud beautifully illustrates the cycle of water. It works like a pipette making simple physics captivating in the child’s eyes. We’ve used it to make up stories about rain and thunderstorms in the bathtub and on our play table.

A hidden mechanism allows you to open the Rain Cloud for cleaning. You must press in the center and when it clicks open, pull it apart to unlock. Not very easy at first (I must confess), but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Here you can see how it works in this video.

Then you have the Sun, whose rays are little brushes. It is fantastic for sensory play and scrub and also for them to feel on their skin. For a time, my son asked me to gently massage it on his arms after bathtime because he loved the feeling. Happy Sun!

Genius building set

It’s a 9-piece set that combines Mox balls, Hix cones, and the Oibo cubes. Three tangible elastic geometrical shapes act as teething and grasping toys for babies, stacking and nesting toys for toddlers, and can be beautiful accessories in role and pretend play.

They are multifunctional and are designed to grow with children.

You can buy the set or find them individually, which are also cool.

Hix

The Hix cones are wonderful and our favorites of the 3 for water play. You can fold and flip the different sections in so many ways. They can become many things, from a party hat to an ice cream cone or a tiny boat. We enjoyed making them float around the pool.

It has a tiny hole at the point, so it doesn’t hold the water in, but it lets it go through with a very thin trickle of water.

Another thing that is cool to experiment with these is what shape makes them sink and what shape makes them float. It is a fun experiment to let them try out. (With the boat shape, it floats, for the rest, it sinks).

Mox

These balls are great. They can be faces, drink water, and then scoop it out. My son finds it hilarious. He also enjoys feeding the balls Hix cone “pizza”.

They sink, and my daughter has been grabbing them from the bottom of the pool all summer.

Oibo

The final shape is the Oibo cube. You can stack them or use them to hold the Hix, the Mox, or Bilibos – like a little stand. My children also like to put them on like superhero bracelets that give them magical powers. All is possible 😉

Mix & Measures set – Learning Resources

3 year old boy birthday gift ideas - Mix Measurements

I am a big fan of Learning Resources. If you do not know the brand, you should check it out. They have so many tools, resources, and games that make play a fantastic learning opportunity. We already had the Experiment set, which we’ve used a lot, and we plan on playing and experimenting with combining the sets.

The Mix & Measures set comes with different measuring cups and tools to introduce children to measurement and helps develop skills like self-help sensory integration and math.

We use them at the table or during bathtime. 

Water droppers

Water droppers, of course, are a must for water play, especially if you decide to mix color waters and discover what colors you can create. These from Learning Resources are our favorites.

And of course, you can find creative ways to combine all these with other outdoor water toys, like pool floats, yard sprinklers, water slides, and inflatable pools. It can be so much fun!

Water toys + Water = fabulous playtime!

All in all, as you can see, we love water play. These toys and resources make it a fun and engaging experience for them. You should never feel pressured to try things you are not comfortable with… it took me years to let them play with water outside of the bathroom at home. 

My all-time favorite is the mini Bilibos, and now the Oogies and the Hix cones. (I must confess I almost always carry an Oogi in my bag, you never know when it will be needed 😉 ).

Always remember, if you want your child to enjoy, you should also enjoy it as well. Happy playing!

Ways to Play with Bilibo

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