Best toy boats

Pretend Play

Toy boat trailers are a fun accessory to purchase for kids who enjoy playing with vehicles. Trailers hitch up to toy boats so they can be towed or pulled around by cars or trucks.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which toy boat is best?

Boats are a classic play item for children’s entertainment and games. Before buying a toy boat, it’s important to think about the toy’s materials and developmental value. Take the Elegant Baby Boat Party Squirties Bath Set, for example, which is a top choice for both usefulness and material quality. 

What to know before you buy a toy boat 

Learning through play 

When shopping for a toy, it’s important to keep in mind that children learn through play. Children develop cognitive, social-emotional, language, fine motor and gross motor skills while engaging in play. Boats are a great example of an open-ended toy. This is because there are endless options for the ways a child can play with a toy boat. Unlike a close-ended toy, such as a puzzle, kids’ imaginations can run wild while they construct different scenarios through open-ended play with toy boats. 

Toy boats for water play 

Water play happens in a variety of ways including on a water table, in a pool or in the bathtub. Depending on the weather, water play can be done indoors or outdoors. Toy boats are a great addition to all styles of water play. When shopping for a toy boat for water play, there’s no need to limit the options to plastic boats. In fact, there are a number of soft, wood and rubber toy boats that can be used for water play. 

Toy boats and building blocks 

Building a toy boat is often a fun and rewarding activity for children. This includes blocks that come with instructional booklets for building boats or other vehicles, as well as more complex kits such as Lego sets that are boat-themed. Building a toy boat from blocks offers children the opportunity to investigate engineering and design principles. 

What to look for in a quality toy boat 

Boat bath toys 

Boats are a natural choice for bath toys. Look for boat bath toys that are easy to dry. This includes boat bath toys that are durable enough to prevent cracking or holding water that will produce mold. Boats with moving paddles that splash the water around are a favorite among children at bathtime. Additionally, stackable boat bath toys are a favorite among parents because they’re easier to store. 

Wooden toy boats 

Toy boats constructed from wood are a top choice for those who seek out natural play materials. The best wooden toy boats are specially sealed, making them waterproof. Older children enjoy building their own boat from wood craft kits. These wooden toy boats can be used in a dry play area with other vehicle toys, as well as wooden toy boats that can be used for water play. 

Plastic toy boats  

Plastic toy boats come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Some plastic toy boats are minimalistically designed, while others are incredibly detailed. When shopping for a plastic toy boat, make sure the product is BPA- and phthalate-free. 

How much you can expect to spend on a toy boat 

Toy boats range in price depending on size and whether they’re plastic, wooden or interactive. Expect to spend as much as $60 on a large, interactive toy boat or as little as $5 on a small plastic boat toy. 

Toy boat FAQ

What’s the best way to clean toy boats after water play?  

A. Remember that water toys need to be disinfected regularly. Regardless of washing hands before playing with toys in water or while in the bath, a toy boat will still need to be disinfected because germs enter the water when children put their hands in their mouths, noses or other unclean areas. To disinfect boats after water play, simply soak them in clean, fresh soapy water, then leave them out to air dry overnight.  

Is it possible to find toy boats that are large enough for a toddler to sit in?

A. There are a variety of options for large toy boats for toddlers to ride in, the first being inflatable boats or flotation rafts designed for the pool or beach. The other option is a bike that’s designed to look like a child is driving a boat. Check weight and height restrictions before purchasing a boat raft or bike. 

What are the best toy boats to buy?

Top toy boat 

Elegant Baby Bath Time Boat Squirties Bath Set 

Elegant Baby Bath Time Boat Squirties Bath Set 

What you need to know: A set of six boats that float and squirt for imaginative play at the pool, beach or during bathtime for children 6 months and up. 

What you’ll love: The boats are constructed from high-quality, durable, BPA-, phthalate- and lead-free materials. 

What you should consider: Caregivers need to squeeze excess water and disinfect after use to avoid mold/mildew buildup. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

Top toy boat for the money

Melissa & Doug Wooden Ferryboat with 4 Wooden Vehicles

Melissa & Doug Wooden Ferryboat with 4 Wooden Vehicles

What you need to know: A large wooden ferry boat with four wooden vehicles, slide anchor and elevator between decks, recommended for children aged 3-5. 

What you’ll love: This ferry boat toy encourages imaginative play, color recognition, fine motor and problem-solving skills.

What you should consider: The wooden boat is for pretend play, not for use in water. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s 

Worth checking out

LEGO City Race Boat Transporter

LEGO City Race Boat Transporter

What you need to know: This Lego speedboat playset is fun and easy to build and it’s recommended for children aged 5 years and older.

What you’ll love: After building the speedboat, it floats and can be used for water play activities. This imaginative kit also comes with Lego figurines. 

What you should consider: If placed in water, sticker decals may detach. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Elizabeth Foley writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular