Best Water Table For Your Toddler

by Brittany Spalding |

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. 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. 

Best Water TablesWhy It Is BestMom Rating
Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play TableBest Value. Compact Size.♥♥♥♥♥
Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water TableAccommodates Multiple Children. Umbrella for Shade. Doesn’t Leak.♥♥♥♥♥
Step2 Big Splash Waterpark Water TableCompact Size. Tight Fitting Plug.♥♥♥
Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play TableEndless Activities. Multiple Accessories.♥♥♥♥
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water TableSturdy. Accommodates Multiple Children.♥♥♥♥
Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water TableCombination Sand and Water Table. Umbrella for Shade.♥♥♥♥
Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water TableCombination Sand and Water Table. Accommodates Multiple Children.♥♥♥♥

The Best Water Tables this Season

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table

Image of the 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.

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

Image of the 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 water table 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 Big Splash Waterpark Water Table

Image of the 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 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, 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 Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play Table

Ahoy matey! Get ready for a water-time adventure with the Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship Water Play Table. Creative play and active play come together in this pirate-themed water table! Squirt water from the cannon, create currents with the spinner, and splash away the day. Kids will find an endless amount of activities in this water play table.

The Anchors Away Pirate Ship is loaded with spinning features, which help cause a current in the ship and move the floating objects. Plus, the center mast is a constant-flow water fountain. Just keep water moving with the pump or by pouring water into the crows nest, then watch everything spin!

Aim and squirt water from the water cannon, or spin the steering wheel and raise or lower the anchor! This realistic ship play table lets your little one be the captain! Other fun accessories include: 1 bucket, 1 scooper, 1 strainer, 1 boat, 1 squirting shark, 1 character-sized life preserver, and 2 pirate characters.

Things to Keep in Mind

The drain plug needs to be in just right so that it doesn’t leak. It order to get a good seal, lay the table on its side and use both hands. The plug actually pushes up when holding water, and you push it down to drain.

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

Image of the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table Playset

Youngsters can make it rain in their very own water park with the Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table. Kiddos can use the large bucket to scoop up water from the pond and pour it into the top tray to make a showering splash below! While the rain shower drizzles back into the pond, little ones can watch as it activates the maze-style spinners and ramps to create a cascading waterfall. This sturdy, large kid’s water table features a spacious design that allows for multiple children to play together!

The easy-to-open drain plug doesn’t leak, and allows for quick clean-up or storage. I love that this water table features a 13-piece accessory set. Including 3 water figures, 3 buckets, and multiple water maze pieces.

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.

Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table

Image of the Step2 Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table

The Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table is a great outdoor toy that provides youngsters with hours of imaginative play fun! Tots can build sand castles on one side and sail toy boats on the other. Little ones can make believe they’re sailing the Seven Seas, and then arrive on an island to dig for buried treasure. This kid’s sand and water table is a brightly colored, all-in-one activity table that provides sensory play fun for all. Let the splashing and building fun begin!

I love that this water table includes an umbrella to keep your little ones shaded while they play. This water play table features two sides, one that holds 10 lbs of sand, and the other that holds 3 gallons of water. A roadway separates the two play areas.  A durable, one-piece plastic cover keeps sand dry, while molded-in roadways on the lid provide an additional play surface.

Things to Keep in Mind

As with a few of the previous water tables, this one does not have pre-drilled holes. Some effort and muscle are required to get this water play table put together.

Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table

Image of the Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table

Little ones can go on a dynamic dinosaur adventure with the Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table. This two-sided kid’s play table features a large sand pit for deep dino digs and a water station to rinse off their digging tools! Kiddos can use the large cup to quickly scoop and pour water into the top of the volcano and watch as the water gushes down the sides of the mountain. This children’s play table is the perfect size for multiple youngsters to transport back to prehistoric times.

The Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table features an easy-open drain plug for Mom or Dad to quickly drain the water when playtime fun is done. You can protect your kid’s play table from neighborhood animals or wet weather with the volcano rock table lid.

Things to Keep in Mind

The sand may get very wet because the sand section does not have a drain plug. If this is an issue for you, or your little one doesn’t like sand sticking to his hands, I would suggest using pea gravel.

Guide to Selecting a 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.

Final Word

My absolute favorite 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. So go ahead, take the plunge and let the squeals of laughter begin.

Brittany Spalding
Brittany Spalding is a wife, homeschool mom, writer, editor, and food allergy awareness advocate. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, restoring antique furniture, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and fishing on the beautiful Kentucky Lake.

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