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The Best Water Tables 2017

You could hold your children amused and out within the clean air all summer long with one of these innovative water tables. But although they are lots of a laugh to play with, they also can assist to improve a child's spatial reasoning, satisfactory motor abilities, and more. When customers purchase our independently selected editorial alternatives, we may earn commissions to support our work.

Step2 Splish Splash Seas Water Table with UmbrellaLittle Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play TableSandbox Castle 2-in-1 Sand and Water Table with Beach Play Set for KidsLittle Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play TableECR4Kids Assorted Colors Sand and Water Adjustable Activity Play Table Center with Lids, Square (2-Station)Step2 Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table

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 more 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 gain from water play is so extensive that several aspects warrant specific illumination:

  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Mathematical and Spatial 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 a 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 with 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 enhance 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 a 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 your child create a world within the water table then sit back and let them explore.

    Choosing The Right Water Table

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    When it comes to choosing a water table that's right for your child, first consider basics. How large can a table 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 the 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

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    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.

  • #6.Step2 Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table

    The Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table is a great outdoor toy that provides youngsters with hours of imaginative play fun! Tots can build sand castles on one side and sail toy boats on the other. Little ones can make believe they're sailing the Seven seas and then arrive on an island to dig for buried treasure. This kid's sand and water table is a brightly colored all-in-one activity table that provides sensory play fun for all. Let the splashing and building fun begin with Step2!.

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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    #5.ECR4Kids Assorted Colors Sand and Water Adjustable Activity Play Table Center with Lids, Square (2-Station)

    Includes translucent lids. Age group: Three years and above. Brightly colored basins that are removable for easy draining and cleaning. Strong steel legs. Adjust to three heights: 20 in., 22.5 in., and 26 in.. GREENGUARD gold certification and are CPSIA-compliant for safety. Warranty: One year limited. Made from heavy-duty plastic. Made in China. Assembly required. 30 in. W x 14.75 in. D x 20 in. H (20 lbs.).

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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    #4.Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play Table

    I bought this for my 1-year-old as his birthday gift. He did have a great time with it but I am looking forward to when he is a bit older next year. Overall it is very cute and the kids had a great time with it. Fit in perfect for his pirate first birthday!

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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    #3.Sandbox Castle 2-in-1 Sand and Water Table with Beach Play Set for Kids

    A colorful, easy to assemble sand & water play table with dual sink design. Kids can splash water, sailboats, play with the mini watering can, make sand castles, create shape imprints, dig, rake ...possibilities are only limited by imagination! A bonus feature is a lid, which is included for the kids to create a castle landscape - they can simply slot castles into the imprints provided and decorate to their heart's content. Accessories include four castles, four bridges, two sailing boats, crab and shell shapes, shovel, rake, and watering can. Size:23"L x 17"W x 15"H. Ages 18 months +

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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    #2.Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table

    This fun Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark kids water table is loaded with features and ways to play. Kids will improve fine motor skills, sharing skills and their imagination while having a splashing good time. See how the water makes the wheels turn, or just splash around with these fun outdoor water toys. This dynamic water table for kids is just the right height - toddlers will play for hours!

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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    #1.Step2 Splish Splash Seas Water Table with Umbrella

    It's time to set sail with the Splish Splash Seas Water Table with Umbrella by Step2. Mini pirates will have hours of sensory play fun and can stay cool underneath the umbrella as they splash around. This outdoor activity table has plenty of water-if features and accessories that will encourage active imaginations and enhance fine motor skills.

    Price, Info, & Pic.eBay

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