10 Best Water & Sand Tables for Kids & Toddlers in 2020
If it’s just too darn hot, don’t keep everyone cooped up inside; invest in the resources your family needs to enjoy a day in the sun, all in the comfort of your own yard. Water and sand tables are the answer for families looking for splashy ways to spend their summer days, without having to commute or spend the time and money on a personal pool.
These tables usually feature accessories that encourage children’s developmental progress, enhancing their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creative role-playing. All you need is a space big enough to fit a normal table, and voila: you’ve got yourself a mini water park. Make a splash together this year with our top 10 water and sand tables.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 26 hrs of research
13 accessories included
You can remodel the waterfall’s path
Three water-squirting toys
Easy drainage via included plug
Bucket with molded storage hook and space
10 Best Water & Sand Tables Reviewed
1. Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond
13 accessories included
You can remodel the waterfall’s path
Three water-squirting toys
Easy drainage via included plug
Bucket with molded storage hook and space
Rainwater pours quickly so you have to keep replenishing
If you’re going to go chasing waterfalls, it might as well be the ones pouring in the Step2 Rainshowers Splash Pond. This water table features a large pail that allows kids to scoop water from the pond up into the waterfall tray, and watch it fall.Read more
The maze pieces are easy to rearrange, making it possible to create new waterfall patterns time and time again. The rain-shower effect comes equipped with a realistic rainfall sound, and the springboard allows you to flip figures backward into the pond water. Awarded by TTPM as one of the Most Wanted 2017 Summer Toys, this water table includes a 13-piece accessory set, a draining plug for easy cleanup, and three water-squirting toys. What a blast!
This water table gets kids engaged in fun, splashy, creative play. The rebuildable waterfall is an especially nice touch, as it allows children to explore cause and effect more thoroughly, and work through some logic and problem-solving skills.
There are tons of little features that make this water table special. The rainwater is aesthetically beautiful and leaves kids in awe. The waterfall puzzle-pieces allow them to rebuild the path that their water is running. The springboard gives the water-squirting toys just a little more pizzazz; it’s interesting and multi-faceted enough to keep little ones engaged when their attention spans might usually wane.
2. Step2 Big Splash Waterpark
31.5 in. diameter
Too few accessories for figurines
Clunky set-up and breakdown
Your toddler can make big splashes and waves with the Step2 Big Splash Waterpark table.Read more
This 31.5-inch diameter playset comes with a 4-legged tower with a huge bucket on top. The tower has several slots upon which your child can place a waterwheel and a curved slide. Liquid from the bucket pours into both the waterwheel and the slide attachment to spin the wheel and create a waterslide, respectively. Your child can also attach a beautifully designed diving platform on the side of the Big Splash Waterpark to help catapult any one of 2 water table toy figurines. Both the boy and girl figures come complete with their swim attire including goggles and snorkel for the boy figure. The Big Splash Waterpark has an easily accessible drain plug so that cleaning is made a lot easier.
This toy can bring endless hours of backyard fun! With several tower slots and the water wheel, there’s a ton of options that a child can get creative with. The diving platform alone leaves loads to the imagination. In between those playful moments in the kiddie pool, they can just take a break with this water table. The easily accessible plug for clean-up is a parent’s dream.
This water table is loaded with fun features that will not only keep your child entertained but will also keep them cool on a hot summer day. The large size of the table increases the fun by allowing your child to engage in water play with family and friends. The more the merrier. While kids will go crazy for the fun features, the easily accessible plug makes this worth every penny for parents.
3. Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark
Seven gallon water capacity
Five character balls
Double Waterwheel attachment
29 in. diameter
Only caters to one child
With a wide variety of ways to play the Little Tikes Spiralin Seas Waterpark Play Table will keep your child smiling from ear to ear.Read more
Designed by renowned toy maker Little Tikes, the Spiralin’ Seas is a fun-filled waterpark on a small 29-inch diameter table. The center tower has funnel at the top and down a spiraling waterway. There’s a liquid scooper attachment, too, or as Little Tikes put it, a mini Ferris wheel. At the back of the wheel is a lever which kids will have to turn to scoop liquid or even the balls that are floating after having spiraled down the tube. It’s all about control and timing as kids will have to perfectly time the turning of the wheel to scoop the balls. There’s a waterwheel as well. Directly above the two waterwheels is an orange funnel which kids have to pour the liquid into. The liquid drains on the topmost water wheel turning it counterclockwise with a counter-rotation on the lower waterwheel. The Spiralin’ Seas can hold a maximum of 7 gallons and already comes with 5 character balls that can also double as squirt balls.
Toddlers and preschoolers will have a fantastic time playing with at least three waterpark-inspired activity attachments. Kids will have hours upon hours pouring the liquid into the funnel or dropping colorful plastic balls that get flushed in the downward roundabout. Watching the balls spiral down the cylindrical waterway will mesmerize children as to how balls can go that fast. The 3 activity attachments on the Spiralin’ Seas can be wonderful instruments to encourage toddlers’ and preschoolers imagination.
Parents will love this is an educational tool for their children’s motor-neural function and hand-eye coordination development! The control and timing that is required to scoop balls from the waterwheel, is a practical and fundamental to achieve this cognitive end while keeping it fun! With five balls and capacity for seven gallons of water, this is an item that keeps on giving!
4. Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay
Doubles as a step-to water table
Wooden platform lid
Bucket, claw and rake accessories
36x26 in. diameter
Lacks storage for accessories
The fun will never end with this Splash N Scoop Bay table. It is a table that features multiple play adventures, in fact just about a play medium for just about everyone. The table has a play area for sand, a play area for water fun, and then when the top is off the sand area a hard plastic play area for just playing with some toys. It is the best of all worlds right in one.Read more
One of the best features of this design of a water and sand table is that the sand and water areas are completely separate. Half of the table is a water area and the other half of the table is for sand. They are neatly separated from a plastic border. The coolest thing is, there is a cover that can cover one section of the table while the other side remains open. So if the kids just want water play the sand side can be covered or the other way around. The total bonus is the cover can be placed on the ground for an additional play area while both sand and water play happen together at the table.
This table offers endless hours of imaginative play. From playing with the sand to playing in the water or both the possibilities are truly endless. The table is large enough that more than one child can play at a time so not only is it great for imaginative play it also is a great promotion for social play.
The set features the wonderful sand and water table plus the cover, along with the table comes a play accessory package that includes a shovel, water tower, cup, slide, spinner, and scoop that the kids will love playing with at the table. Additional items can be added, but everything that comes in the set makes it a great value. Right out of the box the setup is wonderful and included everything that the kids need to have a sandy splashing good time.
5. Step2 WaterWheel Activity
Molded-in sections that simulate water depth
Molded three-legged design
Lacks any kind of strong motif
Toy Sailboats could be choking hazard for younger children
Need something to put your kid’s favorite water table toy on? How about the WaterWheel Activity Play Table? This Step 2 water table is a favorite among older babies who have already learned to stand and walk; although Step2 says the product should be used by toddlers. It has an elevated platform to keep your toddler’s feet dry and clean so there’s no need to worry.Read more
The WaterWheel has molded-in sections on its water compartment to simulate the deep ocean, the shallow canal, medium-depth lakes, and even a really shallow moat – perfect for stimulating your toddler’s fantastic imagination. It has a tower accessory with a built-in waterwheel in the center. Atop the tower is a funnel that kids will pour liquid into using the accompanying scoop. The WaterWheel also feature molded designs surrounding the platform and on the 3 legs that provide support. Aside from the scoop or cup and the tower, the WaterWheel also comes with 2 plastic sailboats to help boost imaginative play among young children.
This product has an elevated platform that can easily double in the aiding of children just learning walk! They can lean on and into it for all the water exploration they desire! That’s only one function, while the other is to keep feet dry after endless moments of play. The waterwheel, tower accessory, and plastic sailboats, all simulate the imaginative oceanfaring experience.
The variable depths of the molded-in sections is perfect in aiding the imagination of children. They can pretend the sailboats are anchoring at the harbor or even sailing out to the deep ocean. Pouring water into the funnel can also help strengthen those small muscles of children.
6. Little Tikes Frog Pond
Water table for open play or challenging frog launching fun
Launchpads located on the outside ring of the table
Inside ring feature center tower
Includes spinners to manually activate the lazy river
Accessory package includes; plastic frogs, floating lily pads, and scoop
Legs of the table can easily be bent outward if moved with water in the table
Drain plug not included
Nothing is more fun than some outdoor play, but when you include water play the kids will have a total blast. This is water table that has been designed for toddlers. It can be used for imaginative water play or used to play an exciting game. Kids are able to make up their own games or play with the frogs to land on the lilies to win. Whichever way they decide to play they will have a blast with their friends or solo playing.Read more
This table has a simple design that offers a round table that has a centerpiece that has a tower. At several places around the outside of the table are launching pads that allow the kids to be able to launch smaller plastic frogs that come along with the set onto the central tower or onto lily pads that have come included with the set. For a moving target, the kids can activate the lazy river feature with a turn of the spinner to keep the action going.
Open play to a challenging game with others the kids will have a great time enjoying some water play with this table. The frogs can be launched and where the frogs land is as exciting as watching the lily pads go around the lazy river. There are so many features and ways to way with this Frog Pond table that the kids will be finding new ways to enjoy all the time.
The value of this water table is amazing. It offers many ways to play without a huge price tag. The kids will enjoy cooling off with some water play while they enjoy the company of their friends or just an entertaining afternoon with the parents. They will get endless hours of fun from this Frog inspired water table. Included with the set are five plastic frogs, a scoop, and two lily pads. It is everything they need to get the games started.
7. Step2 Naturally Playful Center
Separate water and sand compartments
2 small sailboats
Wood-designed molded lid
Elastic tie-down mechanism
Could be stronger beach theme
If you require a sand and water table that can be played with simultaneously by your kid and his or her playmates, then the Naturally Playful Sand and Water Center is the plaything to get. This outdoor water sand table has two separate compartments, one for liquid and the other one for sand. The water compartment has a molded elevated roadways with 2 bridges that connect to the sand compartment. Fill one compartment with liquid and pretend to navigate the 2 small boats under the bridge and around the “island”.Read more
This Sand and Water Center comes with a wood-designed lid complete with molded features. There are also roadways on the lid so kids can still play with the sand water table even if it is covered. Here’s the best part. The Sand and Water Center comes with a beautiful umbrella that can be slotted into a hole in the middle of the table. At least, your kids can have a wonderful time playing in their sand and water table even under the scorching heat of the sun. The legs can be easily detached, too so storage should not be a problem. The Center’s lid can be secured with its elastic tie-down mechanism.
This is the water table that give children the best of both worlds. Like being at the beach, we give you the sand AND the water! The two compartments connect through “waterways” that simulate boat navigating around the sandy islands. Two bridges connect the compartments. A wood designed lid also doubles as a roadway with it’s molded features. Even better, is the included umbrella canopy to keeps the kids cool under the sun.
It’s ingenious to have 2 separate compartments in just a single platform. The addition of an umbrella and holder is also very thoughtful. Now, kids can really see their creativity as well as superb imagination be enhanced.
8. Step2 Cascading Cove
Authentic beach theme
Natural arc design
Convenient drain plug
Separate sand and water compartments
No water bucket of scoops
No beach accessories
Children can play with sand and water simultaneously with the Step2 Cascading Cove Table.Read more
Similar to the Sand and Water Center is step2’s Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table. It comes with the same elastic tie-downs, molded-in roadways on its sturdy and ever-reliable lid, easily detachable legs, and an umbrella and umbrella holder. The only difference is the design of the table’s 2 compartments as well as the placement of the umbrella holder. The Cascading Cove is designed more like the natural arc of a natural beach cove. The liquid compartment also features an island that is connected to the “mainland” by two bridges. There’s also a drain plug in the water compartment which easily removes the fluid after playing. The Cascading Cove is perfect for those outdoor sand water table playtime activities. The lid can also serve as a separate playing surface as it has plenty of road surface for small toy vehicles.
Whether your child is building sand castles or sailing their ships, this table will provide hours of imaginative play. The six accessories included will enhance your child’s fun and take their imaginative adventures to the next level. With two plastic boats, two mini bridges, a small bucket, and a sand shovel there is plenty of accessories for your child to share with their friends.
For parents, the convenience of this item is undeniable! The detachable legs and drain play for the water compartment allows for quick, easy, no-mess storage. The included umbrella allows your child to enjoy the table outdoors as long as they want while protecting them from the sun.
9. Little Tikes Sandy Lagoon Waterpark
Holds both sand and water
Great for group play
Comes with a cover
Water and sand toys included
Built-in drain for easy cleaning
Sand may get into water side and vice versa due to short separation wall
Talk about endless fun! It’s a good thing that summer days are always longer, because your kids will never want to come inside once they catch sight of this water and sand table. They can go from the ocean to the dessert with this all-inclusive table setup, and invite their friends to play while they’re at it.Read more
Each side come with its own toys; tiny sea diving action figures, and a pail and shovel for the sandy side. They can play separately or combine the two for beach-simulating, castle building madness! The best part is the cover that comes with it, just flip over and go -- perfect for protecting this table from the elements or just closing shop for the day.
This table has something for everyone, and is great for group play. Each kid can have a side, and it’ll teach them the importance of sharing and taking turns while keeping them cool and entertained.
This dual ended table is super cool just because it has the best of both worlds! If you can’t actually get your kids to the beach, you can get them this table as the next best thing and we’re sure they’ll be just as thrilled to create those sand castles.
10. Little Tikes Fish 'n Splash
Five numbered sea critters
Launching pad for figurines
Fishbowl at the top slides down onto the spinning lily pad
Water cup, net, and fishing pole all included
The legs can be a little wobbly, especially on uneven surfaces like grass
You can count on Little Tikes Fish and Splash to do more than just entertain; the adorable little sea buddies are all colored and numbered for young children still working on sorting skills and basic math.Read more
A fishing pole helps little ones catch (and count!) the five floating critters. Or, if they’d prefer, they can use the fishing net. For added fun, they can launch their figurine friends into the spinning lily pad in the middle of the table. Filling the fishbowl eventually tips it over, pouring all the water down in a giant wave. A mini bucket with an extended handle makes it easy for kids to scoop water out and in. The table is durable and holds up to seven gallons of water. The turtle, crab, frog, and two colorful fish round out this awesome set, full of cool features and cool, educational fun.
This water table not only has a plethora of interactive features but also actively works to help children develop academic skills. The little sea creatures are all color-coded and numbered, so kids can work on sorting and identification, as well as basic counting.
It’s got a lot going for it. The launchpad, spinning lily, fishbowl, water slide, fishing net, and fishing pole all interact with the figurines, giving kids lots of room to play and explore. It’s easy to drain and easy to assemble, making it parent-friendly as well.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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 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 feedback 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 in a company with shady manufacturing practices either.
And this is how we came up with our top 10 water tables for toddlers and young children. It’s tedious work but we did it anyway.
What we want is to recreate 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 recreation 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 is a great way to give a child a wonderful opportunity to develop both gross and fine motor skills. It is a way to fine tune those hand eye coordination skills and get those fine motor skills with the finger grip going.
Water table are great for bringing together children of many age groups. Water play is something that most children at any age find entertaining.
Other Factors to Consider
Water is a 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 with their very own water activity center.
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 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 in 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 the 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 imaginations.
There are many other benefits of water play, often depending on the kind of water-related activity that children 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 who have found and will continue to find joy in these products. We've left nothing up to chance!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How will a water table affect my child’s future development?
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?
The water table encourages imaginative play with landscapes and sometimes figurines. A dialogue can be created that’s easily transferable 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?
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 sippy-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?
The average price ranges from $39.99 to $79.99 and above.
q: Is a water table worth the investment?
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?
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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