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Wet, Wild and Wonderful: Top 10 Toddler Water Tables

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A toddler water table is a simple and effective way to bring outdoor fun into the home or classroom. Besides, what more fabulous fun is there for kids than making a huge mess with no consequences?

Aside from good clean fun, a lot of moms love water tables because these colorful plastic tubs spell hours of focused playtime for young children, and they are super easy to clean up afterward. Teachers adore these multi-functional teaching tools for the educational value they can offer to all children aged one to six years.

While the better water tables can cost a pretty penny, well-constructed children’s water tables are worth their weight in gold. They are still more cost-effective than a lot of less durable electric toys, and when you consider the benefits that they afford your kids. That might inspire to order one online right now.

What Is a Water Table?

If you’re a first-time parent, you might not have heard of this toy before. Hold on to your socks, though, because we want to introduce to you a play area that you will love and your kids will enjoy for hours on end!

Sometimes called a sensory table or sand and water table, a toddler water play table is basically any table with a basin or a hollowed-out space in the middle specifically designed to hold water, but can also keep sand, marbles, toys, ice, shaving cream, beans, and anything else you’re comfortable having your toddlers stick their hands into.

There is a wide variety of water tables available in the market, from the simple ones that are a basin with legs to the more complicated ones with all the bells and whistles. Some people even create their DIY version.

Why Get a Water Table?

A toddler water table is famous not only because they are great educational tools but also because they are a godsend for any frazzled parent looking for an hour of quiet time while their kids entertain themselves.

If used outdoors, they are an excellent excuse for getting some fresh air and sunshine. An added plus: the water that the kids are playing with is excellent for cooling off during hot weather.

Water tables are not wasteful. They only use less water than a regular kiddie pool and are also a lot safer. When the kids aren’t actually in the water, there’s a lot less danger of harming themselves even with a few extended minutes of unsupervised playtime. The length of which depends on the child’s age.

The water table for a toddler may not be the best water table for one-year-old kids. Younger kids need more supervision.

A water table is perfect for entertaining a child indoors, too. This water table works well, especially when the weather is lousy and they can’t go outside to play, but want to have outdoor-like activities. When you use it, you can get creative with the table, filling it with water mixed with drops of food coloring, or large marbles or squeeze balls.

As long as you remember to put some plastic sheeting to protect your floors before you lay out the water tub, you should be good to go. These fun options remind kids of outdoors, making it a specially useful crowd-pleaser during the wintertime.

Also, water tables don’t need a lot of space when they’re set up or when you put them away. The good ones are easy to assemble, and even easier to pack away when you don’t need them.

You can easily disassemble most commercial water tables. You can store them under your kid's bed or even in a closet.

Finally, the best water tables are some of the most adaptable, multi-functional toys around. Fill them with ice and juice boxes, with snacks for your kids while you’re having a picnic, or with colorful balls. You can use whatever would encourage your children to play.

What Water Tables Can Teach Your Kids

You can usually find water tables in playschools or preschools that make use of a non-traditional approach like Montessori or Waldorf. These schools place importance on self-directed activities, encourage discovery through play and different experiences, and focus on collaborative, hands-on learning.

They use it because the water table is an important, versatile tool for teaching kids a lot of things. They can facilitate a lot of lessons, which include:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving
  • introduction to the value of cooperation
  • kid-friendly introduction to environmental teachings
  • practicing and mastery of hand-eye coordination
  • simple science lessons
  • sense stimulation and creativity

What To Look for in a Water Table

Ready to shop for a water table? Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best water table for kids:

Safety

Ideally, the water table you choose for your kids should not have sharp corners and tiny parts for curious mouths to swallow.

Durability

This toy will go through a lot of interactive play with a lot of different materials, and it is sturdy enough to last even when pounded upon, climbed on, and toppled by a bunch of excited preschoolers. You should at least get a year of enjoyment from a good water table without falling apart. You can expect good water tables to last for at least three.

Moving parts

Satisfaction over floating plastic bricks in a pan of water is not for older children. They would want excitement and fun in moving parts that they can spin, bob, splash, and twirl.

Many water tables come with a water wheel and a catapult. These additions are not only fun to engage with but also useful in teaching children the concept of cause and effect.

Sections

If you want your child to enjoy this toy for hours on end, you might have to consider that they might not always want to play with just water. Sections in the table give you the option to fill one with water and the other with anything else that appeals to your child.

Size

One thing that parents love about this toy is that two or more children can play with it at the same time without getting into a quarrel every four minutes. When shopping, pick one that allows enough elbow room for your little ones to use it comfortably.

Pick A Table for Your Toddler

Excited yet?

Picking out the right water table for your family can be a confusing task, but you can’t go very far wrong. To help you on your way to select the best water table for kids, we’ve come up with a list of ten top contenders:

Naturally Playful Sand & Water Center

The largest and most complex pick on our list, the Naturally Playful Sand & Water Center, is perfect for older kids. The manufacturer recommends it for children from 2 years to 8 years old.

It holds both water and sand in two separate, interestingly shaped, and durable areas for your kids to enjoy. One perk of this model is that it can hold up to 20 pounds (9.07 kg) of sand — great for kids to build sandcastles with or bury toys and treasures!

While it’s already easy to clean and sanitize, the Naturally Playful Sand & Water has an extra feature that makes cleaning a breeze: a convenient drain plug. This plug allows you to drain the water section of the table without having to empty the sand area and tip the water basin over.

It also has a plastic cover that straps down onto the table securely with elastic straps. It’s great for keeping pets, rain, and other random curious animals from the items inside the water table when you store it outdoors during warmer months.

We love the fact that this table includes a broad umbrella that helps keep kids fresh when you set up the table outdoors. It is large enough to keep up to three kids out of the sun as they play at the table.

For more exciting playtime, the table comes with a seven-piece accessory set: two bridges, two boats, two pots, and one shovel.

Waterwheel Activity Play Table

Kids will love this interactive table that lets them pour water down large funnels with a cup. This water will make the water wheel turn and float the cute little sailboats that come with the table.

There is a lot of water for them to play with, too. Despite its small size (31.5 inches x 31.5 inches x 27.9 inches), the Waterwheel Activity Play Table by Step2 holds a lot of liquid, roughly 15.14 liters.

To encourage young imagination, children may play the molded-in sections that separate the water in pools that can be moats, lakes, canals, and harbors.

We love that this table is sturdy enough to stand the enthusiastic splashing of toddlers aged 18 months and up. The manufacturer also made it out of colorful, vibrant plastic.

The only drawback? The table doesn’t have a drain, so you need to tip it over to empty it. Happily, it is still sturdy enough to tip and spill without falling apart!

Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table

Kids love things that move and splash, and the Spill and Splash Seaway Water Table gives them a lot of options to do just that.

We like that this table features two basins, one higher than the other. Water poured from the upper basin spills into the lower pool, making gentle splashing sounds and ripples for the children.

The upper activity pool holds 2.22 gallons (8.40 liters) of water, while the lower activity pool can load as much as 3.24 gallons (12.26 liters) of water. This amount is impressive because, with enough water and force, your kids could create a steady trickle, a pretend tidal wave, or even a mini waterfall!

The table comes with several fun additions: two squirty toys, scoops, a spinning starfish, a diving board, and two swimmer figures, for extra fun for your kids. The water table also comes with an umbrella, great for keeping your little ones out of the sun.

Finding Dory Swim & Swirl Water Table

If your child loves Finding Nemo or Finding Dory, they might get an extra special kick of excitement over seeing familiar figures in this water table.

There’s a little handle at the center that your little ones can turn to make small whirlpools with the whirlpool spinner, sending the little plastic figures of Dory, Nemo, and Frank swimming round and round. Kids can send these figures down a slide or bounce them from a side launcher. A squeeze and squirt of these figures can add more fun. These combined can give kids a fantastic splash time!

Little Tikes Sandy Lagoon Waterpark

Some people hail the Little Tikes Sandy Lagoon as one of the best water tables in the market. While we don’t know about that, we know that the colorful, dual-purpose table is engaging and fun for all toddlers old enough to step up to it.

A large part of the fun is transforming a simple water table into a mini water park via the addition of 50 lbs of sand and 4 gallons of water. If you find that this is too little water, you can add small shallow basins on the floor, allowing your kids to add water as they play.

The table has two slides to send two character figures down in an exciting race to the pool below, and inner tubes for the same characters to float along when they get there.

One thing we love about this table, aside from the obvious choice of twin water slides, is that it has a custom-fit plastic cover to keep unwanted critters and bugs out of the sandbox, keeping the main play area clean and pest-free for your little ones.

Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table

This water table has a design that provides for older children. It teaches early motor skills, including the “put-and-take” routine with five brightly colored ball-shaped characters that cheerily get dropped the spiral tower and to go around as they tumble down into the water.

These five ball characters also suck in and squirt out water as little hands squeeze them. They ride up and around a Ferris wheel as they’re scooped up out of the water and plopped right back in. There’s even a bright yellow funnel to scoop water to turn twin wheels!

Something that parents might like is the Spiralin’ Seas’ size: roughly 30 inches tall and 31.5 inches in diameter. It won’t be too difficult to find a spot for it in your home, but it’s large enough to entertain two children at the same time.  It holds seven gallons of water, which is more than enough to fuel hours of playtime!

4in1 Toddler Activity Building Block Table

We just had to include this unique play table even if it doesn’t solely function as a water table. We love how versatile it is!

First, we enjoy the fact that the Activity Building Block Table comes with a lot of extras: a table, two chairs, and 25 large bricks. You need not go hunting for the right size of chairs or toys to go with it, which is a definite plus.

Second, the table has two covers: one smooth and one bumpy one. The former works like any table-top: you can have the kids sit at the table to draw or eat their snacks. It also serves as a lid to protect what is inside the table.

The bumpy cover coordinates with LEGO and Duplo building blocks so your little ones can spend hours creating cities, machines, and anything else their imagination can create. To keep all these small parts from the floor and the carpet, the table also has storage space for them at the center.

Take off the cover, and you will reveal the water table.  It’s not as complicated as other water tables, but you can float toys in it and play with a squeeze and squirt toys just like any other water table.

While usually recommended for older children, many families with toddlers aged one and above have tried it and found that the kids love it all the same.

Duck Pond Water Table

Kids go quackers over the pond-themed Duck Pond Water Table with its cute pair of friendly-looking floating rubber duckies!

This table comes with a tower where ducks and their froggy friend can hide, and a water slide for the ducks to ride down the pond for a quick escape! They can also go into the pool via a side flipper attachment that launches them into the air for a splashdown into the water.

A cattail scoop lets little ones scoop up the water and toys. It’s the center spinner that makes waves, though, sending the water swirling into a mini whirlpool when the kids turn it. It’s fun to watch the three floating toys get caught up in the current and go racing round and round!

Big Splash Waterpark Water Table

While manufacturers recommend most water tables for children 18 months and older, the Big Splash Waterpark Water Table is excellent for younger kids. Some say that it’s the best water table for one-year-old toddlers, but we would recommend adult supervision for children that young.

This big water table is large enough for two toddlers to play comfortably, with the potential of a third squeezing in. At 31 inches tall and a diameter of 31.5 inches, it holds four gallons of water, which is more than enough for splashing and scooping.

If you’re looking for activities to suggest to your little one, you’re in luck. This water table model comes with a seven-piece accessory set: a bucket, a water tower, a slide, a spinner, two swimmer figures, and a catapult.

You can suggest that your kids pour water directly into the water tower basin and watch it dribble out of the moveable spout, right onto the slide. You can also see how fast they can make the water wheel spin by pouring water using the colorful scoops.

Kids can float other small toys in the basin or throw them into the water via a removable catapult that also comes with the table. The resulting splash of water as a toy makes it to the pool is always a great hit with kids of all ages.

We love a lot of things about the Big Splash, and one of them is that it offers a drain plug that keeps the water in the basin where it is. It’s tight enough that it’s a little difficult to remove even by adults and curious little fingers can't pull out. This seal ensures that there are no leaks, no drips, and no unwanted mess when it is time to empty it!

Little Tikes Frog Pond Water Table

Another toddler-friendly tub suitable for toddlers as young as a one-year-old is the Frog Pond Water Table. It’s large enough to entertain two or three kids at a time and holds a significant seven gallons of water.

Kids might try the launcher to spring one of the five colorful frogs into the pool and scoop them back up with the net. Then, they can splash them again a minute later with the two catapults. They can also turn the spinner that moves the lazy river and sends waves up and down the large tub.

Little ones will spend lots of time enjoying this toddler water table, and it provides a lot of stimulation. In particular, their hand and eye coordination skills will get a workout from following the frogs as they leap from the catapult and splash into the water or onto the tower or lily pads!

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