With the summer heat beating down and the local pools filling up, it can become a whole event to try to get some fun aquatic time in with the family. Going to the beach is a whole day’s trip with packing and sunscreen and figuring out where to park. The community pools are full, and family pools now need daily maintenance to maintain and clean. Sprinkler systems are fun but costly.
In answer to the need for a splashy spectacular that doesn’t require too much hassle, children’s companies have started to engineer flashy, functional water tables. These sets feature large basins or bins, usually with gadgets that help children splish and splash around creatively, without making too much of a mess or requiring a commute. They fit right in your backyard, are easy to both fill-up and drain, and a wide selection means you can pick the blueprint that is just perfect for your family’s needs. Water tables are a great way to get kids outside in the sun, but keep them cool in the heat. These sets often include figurines and tools to play with, but there are huge varieties of additional accessories available, and the universal designs in water sets make it easy for anyone and everyone to come to the table and play.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Kidoozie Pirate Ship
- Spacious Crows Nest
- Step2 Big Splash Waterpark
- Fun Accessories Included
- Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas
- Spiral Motion
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Water and Sand Tables for Kids
Selecting a great outdoor water table for kids from a multitude of water and sand table ideas is very perplexing, to say the least. There are a lot of things that need to be considered and since there are literally hundreds of toymakers and manufacturers of juvenile products, it took us quite a while to come up with a sample that is very representative of what we believe are the best sand and water tables for toddlers and other young children.
We had to check the inherent features that the sand and water table manufacturer has built into the product itself. We had to make sure that these product features sit well with the developmental needs of the children that they are designed for. We had to determine if the company truly understands the developmental milestones of each age group of children and whether this understanding is reflected in the design of the aquatic table or not. Some companies are known for integrating a lot of features that do nothing to assist in the development of children’s skills. Clearly, we don’t want to give these products to our kids, do we?
We also had to look at the safety and maintenance issues of these kinds of children’s playthings. Since we are talking about filling up a table with either sand or water or even both, then the table’s construction should be solid. It should be very tough and sturdy to support the weight of either water or sand or both. We also had to take into consideration other water toy items that may be added to the play area of the table. So, safe and durable construction is a must.
The comments, reviews, and feedbacks of consumers, particularly parents, who have already used these kinds of playthings were read over and over to identify the most striking theme of their experiences. We had our research team analyze these comments so we can have a better understanding of what they are really saying. We then added this understanding to our evaluation of the company’s reputation or overall credibility. We know you wouldn’t put your trust on a company with shady manufacturing practices either.
And this is how we came up with our top 10 water tables for toddlers and other young children. It’s tedious work but we did it anyway.
Water Tables and In-utero Memory
What we want is to re-create the sense of safety and belonging for each child. In-utero is where we’ve all felt our safest — within our mother, floating, having all of our needs met simply from nature, our own bodies and the body of our mothers. Once taken out into the world, the possibilities are endless! But, there’s always the desire to get back, which is the most vital for any developing child, the sense of nurturance. The closest thing in “Mother Nature” is the sea! It’s inherent, and since many parents don’t live near water, the water table attempts to bring the comfort of water and nature to the home!
Part of our research was to understand the history of the water play table. You wouldn’t believe some of the things we found…Did you know that the Water Table is derived from the Sandbox!? Parents of a certain age can definitely relate to this. Just a big rectangle full of sand in the park. You got your little toy bucket, then got transported.
In fact, going back even further, the sandbox was a by-product of the German Kindergarten that developed in 1847 by a student of Friedrich Froebel, founder of the Kindergarten movement.
One hundred and seventy years later, we’re up and running beyond the simple rectangular space. We have the re-creation of an actual beach, which enables the imagination to possibly move beyond our own contemporary standards. This is the ultimate goal for the development of the child, then as it is now!
Water Play and Young Children
Water is a very fantastic medium for fostering the optimum development of children. It can help in the enhancement of their coordination, strength, and balance, social and communication skills, and learning and exploration skills. That is why parents today are advised to provide their children with the opportunities to get really familiar with this liquid element from bath time to swimming or even playing in their very own water activity table.
Toddlers, for instance, can benefit a lot from playing with water. First, being explorers, toddlers can discover a lot of things with liquid as the medium. They will be amazed at how some things can float while others sink to the bottom. While they may not fully understand the principles of hydrodynamics, they will know that heavy, solid objects will not really float. A ship may be heavy but it has space inside making it lighter than the force of the liquid. Of course, they won’t understand yet how this actually works but they are already being introduced to such concepts. Young children also love to use all of their senses when exploring the world around them. Swimming or even soaking parts of their bodies in a liquid medium can stimulate every square inch of their skin. This can have a fantastic effect on their sensory processing.
Water play also enhances children’s social skills and communication skills. They love to share with other kids what they have just learned or discovered playing with liquids. When they play with their water table toys, they learn to take turns cranking the waterwheel or even cooperate on pouring water on the funnel. When swimming, they can try to outdo one another which can also foster a sense of competitiveness in them at such a very young age.
Swimming can also help provide motor skill, balance, and coordination enhancement. Pouring liquid on a funnel, for instance, requires the coordination between what their eyes see and the contraction of their hand muscles so that the water will empty right into the funnel. Playsets that have a variety of spinners and floaters will require excellent control of small muscle groups.
Perhaps what is really beneficial from playing with water is the enrichment of children’s imaginative and creative abilities. They can recreate a severe storm in the ocean, tossing their small toy boats. They can imagine they are on a beach or even in a harbor so they have to know how to safely navigate the waterways and “park” their toy boat at the pier. They can also imagine being Olympic divers launching from a high diving platform. The possibilities are endless. And this is what makes water play truly useful in helping kids make full use of their imagination.
There are many other benefits of water play often depending on the kind of water-related activity that children will engage in. One thing is certain, water activity tables have a significant role in the overall development of today’s children.
We wanted to stand by the quality of the product. This is why the research dove into the construction and reputation of the manufacturers. When it comes to something that deals with the logistics of having the right amount of liquid and/or earth, we had better be on our toes! We have also taken into consideration all of the possibilities that the product entail. We thought of the eventuality of playing outdoors on a sweltering day, so we gave the option of a table with an umbrella attachment. We considered the imaginative play and learning of a busy ball waterslide. The arctic adventure that kids have become familiar with through Disney. We even made it no-mess clean up for parents with a convenient drain plug. Whatever we haven’t thought of or considered will come to light with the support of parents and children that have found and will continue to find joy in these products. We’ve left nothing up to chance!
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for something truly unique and developmentally beneficial to give as a Christmas present to your child, a water table toy or even a sand and water play table is an excellent choice. Let our top 10 kiddie aquatic tables provide inspiration in choosing the best for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How will a Water Table affect my child’s future development?
A: It is proven that a child’s observation of water can aid in scientific understanding. Seeing the flow of water helps with an understanding of physics. Observing algae and plant life, or simply how plants grow when watered, builds a rudimentary knowledge of biology — even some chemistry. Mathematics comes into play when gauging the volume of water needed for the best experience with your water table.
Q. How will the water table improve my child’s social skills?
A: The water table encourages imaginative play with landscapes and sometimes figurines. A dialogue can be created that’s easily transferrable to any other relevant social situation. There’s also the cooperative aspect when playing with other children. They can turn their play into a project, with the common goal of creating the dreamscape scenario of their desires.
Q. How versatile are water tables?
A: You don’t have to just use the accessories provided with each water table! We encourage each individual child and parent to get as creative as they want to! Isn’t one bucket enough? Transform that old sippie-cup into a new bucket! Those toy boats aren’t enough? Let’s get the rubber ducky in the pool!
Q. How expensive are water tables?
A: The average price ranges from $39.99-$79.99+
Q. Is a water table worth the investment?
A: Let’s just put it this way, does the future of your child really have a cost that you’re willing to negotiate? Research has shown that the effectiveness of the water will pay dividends for years to come. It can be the equivalent of considering what might be the best kindergarten for your child.
Q. How utilitarian is the water table for parents?
A: We’ve constructed our water tables in every way to make it both practically fun for kids and practical for adults! The lid that covers the table when not use, can double as a grooved roadway for toy cars and action figures. The sturdy legs that support the weight of your child and the water or sand, can also be easily detached for storage. The handy drain plug is air-tight and, but easily removable when playtime has ended.
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