Kids tend to have short attention spans when it comes to playing with the toys we want them to play with – it’s like part of a ‘toddlerhood’ code. When it comes to water, toddlers just seem to gravitate towards it. It’s a great way to continue with sensory play and get some giggles along the way.
My top recommendation is the Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table because it comes with an umbrella and provides plenty of room for multiple kids with two different pools.
As a mom in the blazing hot Kentucky heat and humidity, I have owned several water play tables and researched even more. Here is a list of the best water tables to keep your little ones cool and content this summer.
|The Best Water Tables||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table||Best Value. Compact Size.||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Step 2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table||Two Play Tubs at Two Height Levels. More Kids, Different Ages!||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Step2 Big Splash Waterpark||Accommodates Multiple Children. Umbrella for Shade. Doesn't Leak.||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond||Sturdy. Accommodates Multiple Children.||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table||Combination Sand and Water Table. Umbrella for Shade.||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship||Endless Activities. Multiple Accessories.||♥♥♥♥♥|
The Top Water Tables this Season
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
It is easy to create rain with the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table. It is like a mini-water park except the kids power the water filling.
Kids fill the big bucket from the pool below and fill the tray to cause lots of action below. Water travels through shutes to activate spinners. A rain shower falls in drips as long as the tray has water in it.
There are plenty of extras to float and play with. The theme of this best water table contender is a pond. So as you would expect, it comes with a frog, a fish and a duck. It also has three buckets, a couple of scoopers and some water wheels that spin when water is poured on them.
It accommodates three or four toddlers.
For the parents, this table has easy maintenance. The drain is right on top for quick access and doesn’t have problems with leaking.
Things to Keep in Mind
This water table takes some effort to put together. With a booklet of over 25 instructions and 20 screws, there are no pre-drilled holes. You must screw each one in by hand until you puncture the plastic.
Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table
The Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table is, by the far, the most bang for your buck. It will last you for some time. It’s suitable for toddlers, ages 2 through 6 years old. Although, toddlers a little older, or younger, can still use it. Packed with different activities, it holds about 7 gallons of water that can be splashed all over the place. This water table comes with 1 cup and 5 adorable ball-shaped characters that squirt water on to your giggling toddlers (or at least make them run until they tire out!).
The Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table is pretty decent sized, approximately 29.5 inches tall and 31.5 inches in diameter. It won’t take up too much space on your deck, balcony, backyard, or even your porch. And yes, I do mean to imply that this can fit into any sized space that you have. It accommodates up to 2 toddlers playing at a time, so whether it’s for individual play or shared play, kids are guaranteed to have a fun time.
This water play table comes with a spiral tower (as the name implies) where toddlers can pop in the cute squishy balls and watch them spiral down to the lazy river. The lazy river can be powered by spinning the green wheel. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch your little one piece together how that one little piece helps get the water moving. By far, my favorite part of this table is being able to scoop up the balls and drop them off, Ferris wheel style, on the spinning water wheel.
From a learning point of view, the scooping, the throwing of the balls down the spiral tower, and getting the water flowing, all help in strengthening fine motor skills. Plus, it’s a total ‘aww’ moment when you watch them realize the cause and effect created by pouring water. You will be amazed at how quickly the little ones catch on to what types of movements they are able to create.
Things to Keep in Mind
This water play table does require assembly and a lot of precision since any incorrect insertion may lead to the spiral tower breaking down, and even some leakages. It’s also known to leak if the plug isn’t inserted it properly. In any case, be sure to keep an eye out and be gentle!
Because of all the splashing, and since little ones are likely to pour water down the ball chute, it isn’t recommended for indoor use. It doesn’t work too well in keeping the water within the chute. Sometimes, the squishy balls get stuck in the spiral, so be prepared to push it out in case it does get stuck. One other thing to keep in mind is that, in order to fully use the spinning wheel, the water table has to be at full water capacity. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the full effect of the lazy river.
Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table
Okay, so I have to admit, I am drooling over the Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum which could be because it has not one, but two separate tubs for double the water fun! The shorter tub is great for younger toddlers over 12 months old, while the bigger tub can be used with kids up to 7 years old. On the whole, it can hold up to 5.5 gallons of water. The upper tub is able to hold about 2.22 gallons of water, while the lower tub is able to contain 3.24 gallons. Size wise, it’s about 25 inches tall and 43.5 inches wide, so it does take up a considerable amount of space.
Since it is pretty big, you can have up to 5 kids playing at the same time. That means fewer arguments among siblings (finger crossed) since each would have their own space. This best water table option should last you a long time. I don’t know about you, but anything that lasts a long time is pure gold for me. I will be aiming to get my money’s worth out of this water table.
The two tubs are connected with inlets and troughs that let you splash and pour water down into the lower tub. It also comes with sea creatures, slides, and other fun accessories that can help you create a splash party! I love how the Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table includes an umbrella, albeit not a huge one. Even on those super hot, sunny days, you won’t have to worry about kids getting scorched.
Things to Keep in Mind
There is no drainage hole which means no leaks! This is a wonderful feature, and worth the extra effort of tipping the table over for water drainage. Not having the drainage hole helps make this water play table pretty versatile, too. You can fill up the tub with other sensory elements, including dried rice, beans or even pasta! To some, this can be a positive or a negative. Personally, I feel the lack of a drainage hole is great because that means fewer leaks. However, it may be difficult to drain the water for some, or to clean the table out entirely.
There are no pre-drilled holes, just indents on where to put the screws in. This makes it pretty tough to assemble, and will require some time and muscle to get it set up.
Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table
The Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table is unique. It combines a sand play area with a water table area. Adults aren’t the only ones who enjoy their water and sand together! Tots can sail on one side and build castles on the other side.
This is the only water activity table that comes with an umbrella to provide both sun protection and a play environment that will keep them active longer. It also comes with a very easy to use cover that attaches with elastic straps. The cover is needed to keep debris out of the sand and it also serves to keep the toys and accessories from being lost or blown away.
As shown in the picture above, the cover also has engraved roadways for play with cars, planes and trains!
The sand portion of the table holds 10 lbs of sand and the water side is 3 gallons. The drain mechanism is easy to find and works well.
The accessories are a bit lacking. The kit includes two boats, a shovel, a cup and two little water slides.
Things to Keep in Mind
As with a few of the previous best water tables on this list, this one does not have pre-drilled holes. Some effort and muscle are required to get this water play table put together.
Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play Table
What could be more fun than the Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play Table. Even the words Aaarg and Ahoy are fun to say.
This is an opportunity for kids to shoot water from a cannon, lower and lift an anchor and drive around their own little pirate boats. They can even create waves and currents with the built-in spinner.
Kids can keep the water flowing with a hand-powered pump or by filling the crow’s nest. A fountain sprays from the center mast. The moving water keeps the many spinners spinning.
The ship table is big enough for 4 or 5 toddlers to play around without stepping on each other. This table lasts a long time.
It comes with two miniature pirates, a strainer, a shark that squirts, a life preserver, a little boat, a scooper and a bucket, so that there are always plenty of things to play with and lose in the grass.
One thing the ship does not come with is a cover, so you might want to look into a plastic cover to keep the wind away, or just put the lose pieces in a zip lock.
Things to Keep in Mind
The drain plug needs to be in just right so that it doesn’t leak. You may need to turn the table on its side and give it a hard push to stay sealed. You pull it down to drain the table.
Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table
Like the Step 2 Cascading Cove above the Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table is a combination sand and water table. It is probably the most versatile table on our list because it comes with a cover for the sand side of the table that can also be used in water play. The cover is shaped like a volcano that cascades the water in a nice pattern when you dump on it from the top.
The dinosaur-themed activity table is certainly a winner for stimulating the imagination. It comes with 4 dinosaur miniatures including a t-rex, a brontosaurus and two others whose names I used to know. There is also a shovel and two rubber scoopers for sand or water.
While there is no cover that spans the whole table the Dino Dig Sand does have the volcano cover for the sand side. This is helpful to keep the sand clean while it is not in use. There is a drain plug on the water side that is easy to use. However, there is no drain on the sand side. So when the sand side gets water in it, which it will unless your kids are neat freaks, the water has no place to go and leaves the sand wet. A little time in the sun solves this problem but I thought I should mention it.
There are no fancy pumps, spinners, sprinklers or cannons because this is the prehistoric era after all.
Step2 Big Splash Waterpark Water Table
Step2 is kicking off the summer with a lot of amazing water tables like the Step2 Big Splash Waterpark Water Table. Widely popular with parents and kids alike, this water table is a huge bowl of joy. It will help in enhancing your little one’s fine motor skills and, of course, sensory fun! It’s a pretty decent size, 31.5 inches in diameter, and can easily be used on the porch, backyard, etc. And if all else fails, there’s always the garage.
The Big Splash holds about 4 gallons of water, and is about 31 inches tall. The recommended age for this water table is 18 months to 5 years old. However, with parental supervision, younger kids can play with it, as well. This is great for up to 2 toddlers. Though, I’m sure having a third play partner won’t be so bad. There are enough activities to keep them all busy!
This set includes the splash water tower basin, movable spout, water slide, and water scoopers. Toddlers love pouring water in the water tower basin, down the slide, and using the water flow to get the motor moving like a wheel. A removable catapult helps propel toys in the water like a reverse diving board, creating a gleeful, splashing moment.
Things to Keep in Mind
The drain plug is a tight fit. I cannot stress how incredible this feature is. After hearing tons of complaints about leaking water tables, it looks like the Big Splash took notes. They added an extra tight fit. It’s pretty tough to unplug, especially by a kid, so you should be good with refilling the water when you – the adult – say you will refill it. Yes, this water table gives an illusion that you are in control.
Some critics say that the water tower does not lock onto the table. This means that the toddler may continuously knock it over, unless she is being super careful. Be prepared to be picking the tower up until you’re ready to give up and let the kids play the way they want to.
Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water Table
Little Tikes makes yet another best water table – the Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water Table. This table features just water, but the leveled play area makes it fun for toddlers ages 2 to 5 years old. The round table features an island with a waterfall fishbowl feature. The whole table holds 7 gallons of water for lots of room to fish and splash.
The clear water scoop/bowl at the top of the table can overflow and tip make water flow down the wavy water ramp and onto the rotating lily pad. They can dump and chase the 5 floating sea creatures all around the water. The table comes with a water cup, a fishing net, and a fishing pole to help capture the critters. The fishing pole has string and a reel that clicks, but it doesn’t actually work like that. You just dip the hook down into the water to snag a fish.
There are a couple of built-in accessories on the side of the table, including a launcher and a dry spot for the animals to relax. The launcher is a lot of fun, but it works maybe a little too well. Your kids will be launching stuff at each other and across the yard with just one flick, so be careful!
This water table sits about 17 inches off the ground, so it’s sized more for toddlers than preschoolers. It drains easily from the bottom plug for quick clean-up- just be sure to catch the water and re-use it on your plants or grass!
Guide to Selecting the Best Water Table
Water play is a great idea to help kids be introduced to new concepts, and strengthen their learning skills. They will see what floats versus sinks, and even how water helps ‘move’ certain objects. It’s a great time to use their abilities to learn all these fun discoveries with the help of water. Additionally, all these activities will tire the little ones out. Woohoo!
Now, before you dive into making the final decision, I do recommend keeping the following tips in mind:
- Long Lasting. Get a water table that your growing toddler can enjoy for many years.
- Versatility is Important. When not in use with water, consider a table that can be filled up with other sensory objects – sand, rice, beans, pasta, etc.
- To drain (plug) or not to drain. Decide if you want to go the drain/plug route, or not. Almost all water tables leak at some point. Unless you add an extra sealant, be prepared for this, eventually.
- Playing with Many kids. Most water tables will allow for 1-2 kids. Be aware of the size of the water table if you specifically want something that can be played with by more kids.
My absolute favorite out of all these best water table options is the Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table simply because it is fun, works great if you have more than one child, and includes an umbrella.
Whichever water table you end up purchasing, just remember, a little water here and there is definitely worth the fun and it will keep kids entertained for hours. So go ahead, take the plunge and let the squeals of laughter begin.