6 Best Water Tables | April 2017

6 Best Water Tables | April 2017
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We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. You can keep your children amused and out in the fresh air all summer long with one of these innovative water tables. But although they are lots of fun to play with, they can also help to improve a child's spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, and more. Skip to the best water table on Amazon.
The Step2 Cascading Cove is a combination sand and water table that features a removable lid with molded-in roadways for additional play surfaces. The entire unit can be safely latched when not in use using the elastic tie-downs.
  • has a moat with 2 bridges
  • easy-to-use drain plug
  • umbrella can be blown over easily
Brand Step2
Model 850900
Weight 19.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The ECR4Kids ELR-12401 comes in 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10-station options, and promotes tactile discovery, fine motor skills, and social interaction. It is ideal for preschools, where you need places for a lot of children to play at once.
  • removable basin for easy cleaning
  • adjustable height steel legs
  • very basic design that can be boring
Brand ECR4Kids
Model ELR-12401
Weight 23.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
Your kid will love the Little Tikes Anchors Away, with its fun pirate-themed design and battery operated, continuous flow center mast fountain. It's made in the USA, so you know it's safe, and has a functioning water cannon, so kids can shoot at the figures and whales.
  • lots of spinning activities
  • includes two pirate characters
  • can drop and raise the anchor
Brand Little Tikes
Model 628566E3
Weight 20.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
The Liberty Imports Sandbox Castle is at just the right height for two and three-year-olds to play without having to hunch. It includes a watering can, a shovel, a rake, a castle and more, plus it feels very stable and won't tip over during intense play.
  • bright colors are fun for kids
  • detachable legs for easy storage
  • good for indoor and outdoor use
Brand Liberty Imports
Model 825C
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
The Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas is small enough that one parent can move it with ease, but just big enough for 2 or 3 kids to play together. It includes 1 water cup and 5 round characters that squirt water to amuse kids and keep them occupied for hours.
  • fully rotating ferris wheel
  • water bucket hooks on to the side
  • durable plastic won't deteriorate
Brand Little Tikes
Model 620300M
Weight 10.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
The Step2 Splish Splash Seas has enough room for up to five kids to play simultaneously, and lots of fun activities, like a waterfall, water slide, and more. It also comes with a large umbrella to help protect children from the sun.
  • elevated for preschoolers
  • enhances fine motor skills
  • includes multiple accessories
Brand Step2
Model 852000
Weight 20.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Why Water Play Matters

Water might just be the best toy you can give your child. And it's certainly the cheapest tangible play item. When paired with the always popular water table, this simple, ubiquitous element becomes a medium for play, exploration, and the development of physical, cognitive, and social skills.

The average toddler will gladly while away an entire afternoon splashing around in a water table. But in fact what looks like mere play to the untrained eye is in fact an in-depth exploration of many fundamental concepts. And also it's just good old fun, which is of critical importance at a young age.

Playing with water offers a child the chance to explore both the tangible and the conceptual; they experience physical sensations such as cool and warm, wet and dry, and the weight water lends to various objects, and they can study volume, gravity, and motion, all while getting the benefit of the communal aspects of shared play, too. In fact, the range of experiences a young child gains from water play is so extensive that several aspects warrant specific illumination:

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Mathematical and Spacial Reasoning
  • Socialization Skills
  • Creative Development

Hand-Eye Coordination: Pouring water from one object to another seems simple enough for the average adult, but for the child who hasn't had as many years to practice, this ostensibly simple activity actually involves careful use of both fine and gross muscle motor control. A water is the perfect place to practice these skills, because spills don't matter.

Math and Space: When you see a child try to fill a small container from a large one, or vice versa, you are seeing their young brain try to solve what, for them, is a complex problem. Basic math skills and spatial reasoning take years to develop, but physical play speeds and enhances the process.

Social Skills: A water table creates a nexus point for children to gather and play; some of their play will be "parallel," meaning not involving direct interaction, while some will involve sharing toys... or fighting over objects. All of it is valid, and a water table creates a safe space for disagreements.

Creativity: To you, it's a water table. To the young mind, it might be the ocean, a store, a secret island, or a laboratory. Choose toys that help you child create a world within the water table then sit back and let them explore.

Choosing The Right Water Table

When it comes to choosing a water table that's right for your child, first consider basics. How large a table can your home accommodate? How many kids will play with it? Will there be ample drainage available (such as with a table set up in grass) or is this for indoor use, thus splashing must be contained? Are your kids standing on their own yet, or do they need a hand to stand?

For the youngest children, simple, stable water tables without a lot of accessories are best; even better are options like those available from Little Tykes and Step2 that have easily removed toys. Let the kids initially explore water itself, using only the simplest objects like cups and spoons. As they grow older, introduce spinning wheels and themed accessories and balls, but initially, simple is better.

Older kids will quickly tire of playing with water and cups, so tables that allow for mixed media are a great idea. Consider tables that feature both wet and dry areas, allowing kids to play with sand and water at the same time, for example. Mixing the two materials together can do more than double the fun, it can allow your children to explore both scientific and artistic concepts. Making a sand castle involves basic physics, chemistry, and design, after all.

Making The Most Of Water Play

Playing with water, especially through the medium of a water table stocked with carefully selected toys, can help accelerate your child's development cognitively, physically, socially, and in terms of language. Think carefully about the toys you choose and you will soon have a child thinking critically about the world around them

Cups: Kids love pouring water back and forth, and will do so readily without much guidance. So why not provide them measuring cups with clearly demarcated volumes instead of regular old cups? In time, with gentle guidance, a child will be able to determine which cups hold more or less water, and will understand how to quantify those properties with numbers. This basic skill radiates out well beyond the water table.

Sticks And Stones: You can't find a cheaper, simpler way to teach a child about density, floating, and displacement than by using buoyant sticks and dense rocks in a water table. Let them explore on their own; they'll come to plenty of conclusions without help, and you'll be there to answer questions, too.

Mixed Media: Once your child has "mastered" the basics of water table play, introduce food coloring, fabrics, sand, and anything else that might catch their interest as it changes in reaction to water, or changes the water itself.

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Last updated on April 29 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.