Some of the most popular kids toys on the block each summer are the ones that allow them to get wet. Show us a kid who does not salivate at the sight of a Slip ‘n Slide, Super Soaker, or a bucket of water balloons. Hell, if you set up a giant inflatable water castle your child might actually pass-out from joy. But those toys are all better with bigger kids, what is the parent of a toddler or young child to do? Get a Water Table. The plastic play sets allow little ones the ability to splash around (and stay cool) while also helping with crucial development skills like attention, focus, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills.
Yes, water tables might look like simple play areas. But today’s options offer a lot to a growing child. Due to their size, the tables can 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). Since so many of the water tables offer numerous moving parts, they also improve hand-eye coordination. A kid with a one is wet, yes, but developing, too.
What, then, makes for a great water table? We combed through the multitude of them available. Here are criteria we used. They had to be sturdy and well built, have numerous accessories to keep little hands and minds busy, needed to inspire little minds, and most importantly they had to be low enough for a toddler to belly up to it. Here are the five best toddler water tables we found.
Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark
The 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, in to 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. In between bouts with the water park features, kids will develop ‘put and take’ skills, plucking toys from the round ring of water that can hold up to seven gallons of water. When it comes time for cleanup, there is a drain plug to empty it, and the 12 pound table breaks down easy. It’s intended for up to three kids ages two to six at once.
Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship
Perfect for the child who loves pirates or anything nautical. This water table is loaded with spinning features to entrance your little ones. They can make the water move in a circular motion by pressing a hand pump or, even better, by filling the crows nest with water which then flows downward firing up the whole system. There is a water cannon that shoots, an anchor that rises and lowers, and the entire table can fit 4 kids around it. Maybe one of the best features is that it comes with a whole plethora of accessories and figurines so they can play with it straight out of the box. At almost 20 pounds it’s still easy to move around and has a drain plug. It’s intended for kids two to six-years-old.
Step 2 Rain Showers Splash Pond
Designed to mimic rainfall, the curvy upper level of this multi-level table entices kids to fill it with either the small bucket that is included, or one of the two smaller scoops that hook on the side. As the water trickles down, it also flows down on one side through a Rube Goldberg-ian waterfall that your child can change at will. There’s also a small springboard to flip the two included figurines back into the larger bottom pool and a spinning wheel that can be moved to help with fine tuning the motor skills. As one of the lightest water tables out there at ten pounds moving it around is simple, plus the drain plug makes emptying it simple. Can occupy up to four kids aged 18 months to 8-years-old.
Step 2 Splish Splash Seas
Designed to mimic a small island in the middle of the sea, this table comes with two figurines — one boy and one girl. The two figures can ride the water wheel carousel or a slide and diving board, all three of which can be moved and set up anywhere on the water table. If the islands residents want to take a break they can either take a dip in the pool in the middle of the island, or go for a ride in the enclosed boat in the open seas surrounding it. There is also a large palm tree that acts like a fountain when water is poured on it from included bucket that will help with muscle development. The table weighs 20 pounds and has a drain plug to simplify clean up. It can accommodate up to four kids aged 18 months to five-years-old.
Step 2 Spill and Splash Seaway Table
This two-tiered play set offers parents a few things the other sets do not. First off, it comes with an umbrella to keep the sun off of junior. Nice. What really sets it apart from the others there is a pair of different basins in which kids can play. The upper one has a water spinner and flipper for figurines; the lower pool, a springboard. Maybe what they will like best is to pour water into the upper pool with one of the two included buckets and cause the waterfall to kick in, pouring water into the lower basin. Both basins are attached to one base, so moving it around is simple. There’s no drain, however, so the only way to empty this table is to dump it. It weighs 20 pounds and is suitable for children eighteen months to eight-years-old.