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The Best Water Tables for Toddlers and Kids

Because getting wet never gets old.

It’s an undisputed fact that kids love water. An easy and low-mess way to keep kids entertained on hot summer days is to set up a water or combination water and sand table in your hard, or on the patio. The beauty of an outdoor water table is that kids can splash around as much as they want, in a controlled setting, and at most you only need to hose them off when all is said and done.

Water tables can often accommodate numerous children, allowing kids the chance to work on their communication and social skills. Playing in water helps kids in the development of problem-solving skills since it encourages them to explore and learn about the mechanics of water (how it flows, pours, and such). And since so many water tables have moving parts, they encourage hand-eye coordination. A kid with a water table will get wet, yes, but the payoff is great.

These water tables are sturdy and well built, have numerous accessories to keep little hands and minds busy, and are low enough for a toddler to belly up to it.

If you have multiple kids who all want to splash around together, this water table makes it happen. It has five separate play stations, including a steering wheel that creates a wave pool, a central volcano island where creatures can hide, and of course a waterfall slide. The palm trees spin around. The mermaids and narwhals have plenty of places to seek shelter. And kids 2 and up can even find the secret oyster shell.

So a water table just doesn't cut the mustard anymore? Then you need to upgrade to a full-blown water game. The goal here is for kids to sink each others' boats, using a water shooter. They aim the spinners to shoot the targets, which then spill water into the boats below, thus sinking them. You need to connect a hose to the water table to keep the game going, but it's a damn fun time for all. And of course, plan on your kids getting wet. It's great for kids 2 and up.

Sand on one side. Water on the other. A car race track in between. And an umbrella for sun protection. This is one hell of a great sand and water table, which also doubles as a mud kitchen. It holds up to 10 pounds of sands and three gallons of water, and has drain plugs to empty it out. This one is ideal for kids 3 and up.

The engaging water table, which is 29-inches in diameter, has a large funnel spiral in the middle of the table that will keep kids busy for hours as they drop balls, and water, into the opening and watch them spiral down into the base. To aid in hand-eye development there is a four-spot 'Ferris Wheel' on one side that requires coordination to pick up the five floating round characters that come with the play set. There's also a twin water wheel. It's intended for kids ages 3 to 6.

Preschoolers scoop, pour, count, and get gloriously wet courtesy of this water table. They catch and collect ducks, pour water to fill the water tipper until it tips over, and use the launcher to get the frog on to its lily pad. It has five activity stations, with a water tipper, a spinning lily pad, frogs that squeak, a launcher for the said frogs, and a wave maker. It's for kids 2 and up.

We like this sand and water table precisely because of how simple it is: You fill it with either sand or water and let your kid's imagination do the rest. It's made of Baltic birch plywood, and has a cover to hide the mess when your child is done playing.

This ultra-portable water table, made from rubber wood, consists of a rubber tray that you fill with water. Kids 3 and up then navigate a paddle boat, a sail boat, fish, a log, and trees through the ecosystem.

Ahoy, matey. This pirate-themed water table has a slew of spinning water features, so kids never get bored. They use a pump, or pour the aqua into the crow's nest. The center mast serves a constant-flow water fountain, which keeps water moving around the entire table. Little seafarers can also squirt water out of the cannon. It's great for kids ages 2 and up.

If a mere water table just doesn't cut it, this one should do the trick: It has a separate activity center for sand. And of course, this can serve as a pretty dope mud kitchen as well, because dirt plus water...anyway, there's a wide umbrella to provide sun protection. And the activity table is big enough for multiple kids, ages 2 and up, to play together. The water table comes with boats and features molded-in roadways, as well as two bridges, two pots, and a shovel.

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