11 Best Water Activity Tables For Toddlers + Older Child [1 year old to 5-7]

Looking for the best water activity table for toddlers or an older child? Look no further! Discover the best water tables for kids from 1 years old and up.

This post is divided into two sections: the top section features more unique water activity tables with smart and multi-use designs. These are best suited for kids of all ages from 1 year old and up to 7 or 8 years old; these are a bit more open ended, lend themselves to montessori activities, and really grow with your child.

The second section focuses more on playful splash water tables for toddlers in the 1 to 3 year old rage. These are going to be the best picks of more traditional Step 2 and Little Tikes water tables with more close-ended features.

All the picks are sure to provide hours of indoor or outdoor fun!

Overall Best Water Table: Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™

Step2 knows what they're doing when it comes to water tables (they make up most of the picks on this list!) and we're huge fans of the Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ thanks to it's simple, yet smart design that can be used for montessori inspired activities.

It features two bins, making it great for two kids or using for dry/wet activities. You can add sand or even mud to one side to make a DIY mud kitchen, with water on the other side.

Additionally, thanks to it's removable umbrella and cover, it's a great outside options.

Choose from a blue or green water table, and both come with accessories and a drain plug on both sides for easier clean up.

While this option doesn't come with some of the fancier water features, we actually like that as it's easier to clean and lessens the likelihood of mold.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 3+ year olds
  • Dimensions: 20.5” D x 42.5” W x 24” L
  • Features: two bin compartments, toys, umbrella, and lid, drain plug for each bin
Good to Know:
  • Legs are not adjustable
  • Removable 42″ umbrella (may be low for some kids)
  • Can hold 10 lbs of sand and 3 gallons of water
  • No water feature making it easier to clean

Best Water Table To Grow With Your Child: Teamson Outdoor Oasis Table 

This cute little A-frame picnic table with two benches is sure to get a ton of use even when not doubling as a water activity table and will grow with your child as they move out of the “water activity table” age and is really the best water table for 5 to 7 year olds and beyond.

Teamson Outdoor Oasis Table is made from a durable pine wood with rounded edges for added safety with kids. We love that this option comes with a cover for over the bins when not in use. Additionally, there are pre drilled holes for an umbrella in both the cover as well as the lower portion if you separate the bins slightly.

We love that it features two separate bins for wet/dry activities; and as children grow/interests change, you can use it as storage of art supplies or nature treasures.

The complete package also comes with a few toys your kids can use including a bucket, shovel, rake, seahorse mold for water and sand play fun.

While there are no official montessori water tables, this one is definitely the most aligned with it's wooden design and simple features.

While the Teamson is better quality, this option is a close runner up for less and it comes with the umbrella, though the bins can't be placed as close together.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 3+ year olds
  • Dimensions: 35″ L x 35″ D x 20″ H
  • Features: 2 Benches; 2 Removable Bins; Toy Accessories
Good to Know:
  • All-weather pine wood with cherry stain
  • Removable tabletop and two removable bins
  • Easy to assemble

Best Water Table For Small Spaces/Seasonal Use: Little Tikes Easy Store Outdoor Folding Water Play Table with Accessories for Kids

If you're looking for a compact option that you can store when not in use, then Little Tikes Water Table is the perfect option!

While compact, this table packs a ton of great features into it's smart design.

There are two different height bins for wet/dry play or if you have multiple kids to use separate areas. The top level includes a pour-in rain shower feature.

Additionally, this includes a few accessories for pouring and that can snap onto the table edges for added water features.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 3-5 year olds
  • Dimensions: 9″ L x 27″ D x 16″ H
  • Features: Two bins, foldable, snap in and pouring accessories included, top tier rain shower feature
Good to Know:
  • Easy to assemble
  • More than 1 child can play at once
  • Fold flat storage

Best Portable Water Table: Starplay Folding Water Fun Trolley Sand & Water Table Playset

The Starplay is another foldable water table like the Little Tikes listed above, but instead of legs, this one features wheels for easier portability. It can be splayed out on the ground or a tabletop for easy set up and use.

We love that when not in use, you can fold this shut and wheel it undercover to prevent water from collecting or the likelihood of mold/mildew growth or needing heavy duty cleaning.

While this water playset doesn't come with traditional toys (like cups for pouring or balls), it does have some of the coolest features we've seen: a wave maker, water pump, fishing hook, race track, bridges, moveable dams, green house & boats

Specs:

Age Recommendation: 18+ months
Dimensions: 8.5” D x 26.2” W x 52.5” L
Features: Foldable with wheeled carrying case; Wavemaker, water pump, fishing hook, race track, bridges, gates, greenhouse & boats

Good to Know:
  • No drain plug / dump to get water out
  • Lightweight enough for a toddler to move
  • Wheels for easy portability

Best Indoor/Outdoor Water Table: PicassoTiles Kids Activity Center

PicassoTiles are best known as the cheaper alternative to MagnaTiles, which are little magnetic tile building blocks that toddlers and kids LOVE.

If you're looking for one of the most jam packed water table options at a great price point, then the PicassoTiles Kids Activity Center is a great option to consider. They offer an activity center (PBT330 + PBT365) where the inner base can be used as a water table.

It includes a double sided top, one that's flat for everyday table use, the other a brick table top for building.

Depending on which style you opt for, you'll either get magnetic tiles (PBT365) or lego style building bricks (PBT330) for building.

For toddlers ages 1 to 3, we suggest the PBT330 (shown here) which features lego style building brings and a large marble run. The magnetic tiles in the PBT365 table pose a choking risk and you don't get the STEM marble run activity.

When not using the base for water play, you can use it as toy storage, and there are also four detachable storage bins included.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 3+ year olds
  • Dimensions:16.5″L x 12.7″ D x 16.8″ H
  • Features: Removable and double sided top, building bricks and four detachable storage bins included
Good to Know:
  • Adjustable leg height, but no extenders
  • Various styles with bonus features (not all water compatible though – see above)
  • Works with other building block brands

Most Popular: Step2 Rain Showers Water Tables

Step2's Rain Shower water table is one of the most popular and beloved on the market and comes in a variety of themes including unicorn, tropical rainforest, and splash pond.

This water table comes packed with accessories and features for hours of fun.

Each style includes 12 on theme toys as well as an upper level water features and pouring stations.

The biggest drawbacks with this water table are the fact there's only one compartment, so you can't turn it into a sand/mud kitchen and there's no lid to protect it from the elements if left outside.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 18 months – 10 years old
  • Dimensions: 39″ L x 24″ D x 32″ H
  • Features: Drain Plug, 12 Accessories
Good to Know:
  • No lid can lead to water collection when not in use
  • Single compartment for water table only use

Step2 Ball Buddies Adventure Center Water Table

The Step2 Ball Buddies water table is great for the kid who love balls and cars.

This water table comes with 4 Ball Buddies toys, ball-picker tongs, 2 hoop towers, a water-activated spinner, bridge attachment, whirlpool spinner, 3 cups, and 10 play balls.

It's a two-tier water table that allows for multiple kids to play at the same time using roads, and bridges, or navigating around the river basin.

Specs:

Age Recommendation: 1.5 Years and Up
Dimensions: 27.25″ H x 36.5″ W x 36.5″ D
Features: Two tier water table; Toy accessories; Multiple stations for play

Good to Know:
  • Holds up to 2.8 gallons of water
  • Does not have pre-drilled holes for draining
  • Easy to assemble
  • Strong and sturdy for outdoors

Sandy Lagoon Waterpark

If you like Step2 Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ and their Ball Buddies Adventure Center Water Table then you'll love Sandy Lagoon Waterpark which is a hybrid of the two.

You'll get two sides for wet/dry play like the Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ – but you'll also get a water run that's big enough to fit small balls similar to Ball Buddies Adventure Center Water Table, or just be used for pouring activities.

Additionally, it's design makes it a great indoor water table for toddlers too.

The Sandy Lagoon Waterpark is a very middle of the road option in terms of features and simplicity. It is truly designed for water and sand play and comes with accessories for both activities. Additionally, has a removable lid to cover the sand when not in use, and a drain plug for easy clean up of water.

Specs:

Age Recommendation: 2+ year olds
Dimensions: 26.50″ L x 26.50″ D x 34.50″ H
Features: Two bins, four toys, water/ball run, drain plug for wet side, cover for dry side

Good to Know:
  • Easy to assemble
  • Middle of the road option in terms of simplicity and features
  • Lid for dry area and drain plug for wet area

Step2 Spill and Splash Seaway Water Table  

If you have a 1 year old or young siblings and are looking for a more “toddler friendly” version of the Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ then the Step2 Spill and Splash Seaway Water Table is a great pick.

It's shorter, so it's one of the best baby water tables as it's a bit easier to navigate. Additionally, the two basins are are two different height levels and perpendicular – meaning if you have toddlers siblings who get territorial it'll be easier to separate and distract compared to the rectangular design of the Cascading Cove.

Just like the Cascading Cover, it comes with a removable umbrella and toys (though the Spill + Splash has more toys – again making it a better option for siblings in that 1 to 3 year old range).

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 18+ months
  • Dimensions: 20″H x 40.75″W x 25″D
  • Features: Water table; Umbrella; 11 piece accessory kit
Good to Know:
  • Manufacturer's 3 year limited warranty
  • Lightweight and not very sturdy
  • Some of the accessories are flimsy
  • No drain plugs; flip to empty or drill your own
  • Umbrella may only cover portion of table depending on sun exposure

Pump & Splash Discovery Pond

In terms of strictly water tables (no dry area) with lots of features, this is personally our favorite option. The Pump & Splash Discovery Pond is unique in that it sits on the ground and is big enough for kids to actually cool off in on hot days in lieu of a splash pad.

The Pump & Splash comes with a wide variety of features and accessories, including a water pump, rainshower, pouring buckets, and more fun water features teaching cause and effect for kids to engage with.

While it's technically safety rated for ages 3 and up, we think families with a baby will appreciate using the bottom as a wading pool, and feel confident knowing this pick will grow with baby over the years. Just keep in mind, it is still plastic so if a baby were to pull up on it, the lightweight nature could lead to topples and children should ALWAYS be surprivised when water is involved, even if it's only in an inch of water.

Specs:
  • Age Recommendation: 3-4 year olds
  • Dimensions: 38.25” D x 30” W x 40” L
  • Features: Wading area, water pump, bucket dump, toys, water trough, lazy river for toys
Good to Know:
  • No cover included
  • No drain plug, so holes may need to be manually made for draining the base, or you'll need to flip over when not in use
  • Easy to assemble

Dino Dig Sand and Water Table

The Dino Dig Sand and Water Table is our least favorite on the list, but a great option for dinosaur obsessed toddlers.

The top grey “volcano” area is actually a removable lid that opens to a second compartment for dry sand or activity.

Kids will love digging up dinosaurs from the sandy side and washing them in the water side. Though, it's noteworthy that if children pour water over the tree to create a “rainfall” effect, the water will get on the dry side if open, or will flow down the volcano.

The water table also comes with dinosaur figures, scoops, and a shovel/rake.

Specs:

Age Recommendation: 2 – 5 year olds
Dimensions: 29.5″ L x 33″ D x 30″ H
Features: Two sided table with dino toy accessories

Good to Know:
  • Comes with a hole to put in an umbrella
  • Drain plug for easy clean up
  • Lid rests on top, does not snap into place
  • Not the smartest design for wet/dry play

How To Choose The Best Water Table For Kids

When it comes to choosing the best water activity table for kids there are a few things to consider:

Style:

Some water tables have only a single basin, while others have two. Both provide a ton of fun, but a two basin water table tends to offer more versatility with activities you can do and multiple kids.

Age:

Depending on when you plan to introduce a water activity table to your child, can narrow your water table selection greatly. For instance, infants who are still doing tummy time or sitting, will engage more with a water table that extends to the ground (or close to it) versus a water table where you need to stand to access everything.

Furthermore, as kids get older, they may enjoy a water table that's a bit more open ended with multiple sections or more STEM based activities like ball runs and slides versus just pouring and spin toys.

Size:

Double check the water tables footprint to where you plan to place it, and keep in mind if it'll be large enough for multiple kids to use at once if that's a concern for you.

Ease to clean / cover:

Water tables are a ton of fun, but also can get pretty gross. Ideally your water table has a drain, if it doesn't it should be lightweight enough to tip over and empty out.

Additionally, water tables with a cover can prevent unwanted water from collecting in the base; if it doesn't have a cover you can use a tarp or consider placing your water table under a covering.

While most water tables are designed for outdoor use and withstanding the elements, still keep in mind that some with more features or nooks and crannies can be harder to clean all the crevices.

Accessories:

Most water tables come with a few accessories like cups and scoops, however you can always add your own so we think this should be given the least amount of weight when choosing a water table.

With that said, consider the age of your child and their current interests to see if the accessories will even be worthwhile.

Additionally, some water tables have a sun shade option which can be helpful during peak sun hours, but you can also purchase an umbrella and set it up next your water table if the one you love doesn't have this option.

FAQs About Water Tables For Toddlers + Kids

Are water tables good for toddlers?

Yes! Water is a great sensory learning activity for toddlers while offering opportunity for gross and fine motor skills. Developmentally speaking, as toddlers get older they can use water tables to engage in social, emotional, and creative play too.

Additionally, parents of toddlers know just how curious they can be. A water table can help kid toddlers in a specific area of the backyard, without needing to be formally contained. Parents will appreciate not having to hover, while still keeping toddlers engaged in independent play within eye distance.

Plus, water tables can keep toddlers cool during outdoor backyard play.

Benefits of water tables for all ages:

  • Fosters independence
  • Deepens concentration
  • Works fine motor skills
  • Encourages gross motor skills
  • Opportunities for working on STEM lessons
  • Sensory learning
  • Keeps kids cool during outdoor play
  • Helps soothe nervous system
  • Social and emotional development
  • Language opportunities

What age is best for water table?

Depending on the style of water table, you can introduce one as early as four weeks old, with most water tables being best suited for around 10 or 11 months old as children practice pull to stand.

For infants, water tables that are flush to the ground can be filled with a 1/2 inch of water or less for a fun, supervised tummy time experience. Once babies can sit upright without assistance, they can use some of the features of certain water tables too.

with that said, the bulk of water tables are designed for babies and toddlers who can stand. Toddler can use the water table rim to cruise around and visit all the different stations and really can help with gross motor skills.

Are water tables worth it?

Yes, water tables are often well worth the cost. Water play encourages children to learn to share and work with others while working fine and gross motor skills.

Additionally, water tables can be used for a slew of early STEM activities.

Furthermore, they can get kids who may not love being outside due to heat or bugs, more engaged in outdoor play which is critical for their sensory development and nervous system.

How do I keep my water table clean?

They key to keeping a water table clean is preventing still water from collecting as this can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, mold, or other unwanted nuscences.

Most water tables come with a drain for emptying the water, be sure to open this up after each use and then you'll just want to wipe it clean once a week to prevent any build up.

Prevent build up:

When the water table isn't in use, keep the drain open incase it rains. If your water table comes with a lid, we suggest covering it when not in use to prevent water build up. Additionally you could tarp your water table or move it to a covered area to prevent water from pooling when not in use.

If water does pool, simply dump the gross water, add soap, fill with fresh water and have your kid help you clean it as an activity!

Are water tables Montessori? 

Water tables are not technically montessori as they were not developed by Dr. Maria Montessori herself. However the options in the first section of this post are more montessori aligned and can be used for a wide variety of montessori inspired learning activities.

Water table activity supplies:

While most water tables come with some accessories, if you plan to set up your own activities beyond what the water table offers, we suggest the following:

  • Rocks/stones/crystals
  • Flowers or loose tea mixes
  • Sticks
  • Water beads
  • Pom poms
  • Food coloring/dye
  • Ice
  • Chalk
  • Paint
  • Animal figurines
  • Dish soap
  • Kitchen utensils (whisk, various spoons, spatula)
  • Funnels
  • Legos or megabloks
  • Easter eggs
  • Magnetic items like wands and fridge magnets with letters, colors, shapes, etc.
  • Loose caps (from squeeze food or jars/bottles)
  • Spray bottle
  • Foam letters
  • Containers of various sizes (cake tin, muffin tin, cups, jars, etc.)
  • Dirt/top soil

Water table activities for infants:

Montessori Water Table Ideas
  • Pouring station
  • Maximum effort activities of filling jugs and lifting them or carrying them to another part of the water table
  • Transfer activity: Fill one side with water, and leave the other side empty. Give your child either a spoon or sponge/scarf and have them use the material to transfer water from the filled to the empty container. A spoon and sponge work different fine motor skills so this is actually two activities!
More water activity ideas for infants
  • Splashing
  • Clean the water table
  • Wash animals/toys
  • Sensory water table with non-choking hazard items like Easter eggs, animal figurines, flowers, etc.
  • Sensory table with oobleck or foam
  • Sink or float experiments

Water table activities for toddlers:

Montessori Water Table Ideas
  • Letter/number/color/shape recognition: using magnetic letters, numbers, colors, or shapes and magnetic wands have your child “go fishing”
  • Clean table/toys using a spray bottle
  • Hand washing
  • Washing baby
  • Watering plants
  • Face washing
  • Counting or sorting activities
More water activity ideas for toddlers
  • Mud kitchen: using top soil and other materials create a mud kitchen
  • Draw with chalk in water or wet chalk and color next to table
  • Sensory table with water beads
  • Play restaurant/tea party
  • Building a water world

What are the best water tables for toddlers + older children?

Overall, I'm a huge fan of Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ thanks to its simple dual bin design and cover. It has just enough features for toddlers entertainment and few enough features for older children to use for a wide variety of activities. While it may be a little short for older children they can sit on the ground or the table can be placed on a higher surface for use.

Alternatively, Teamson's Outdoor Oasis Table is another great option that montessori families are sure to love, and will grow with your child.

For families with mixed aged children, looking to cool off during the summer the Pump & Splash Discovery Pond is a great choice thanks to it's small wading pool area and a ton of unique features sure to provide hours of fun.

A final favorite of ours is the Sandy Lagoon Waterpark which combines the two sides for wet/dry play from the Cascading Cove Sand & Water Table™ – while you'll also get a water run that's big enough to fit small balls similar to Ball Buddies Adventure Center Water Table, or just be used for pouring activities. It's a great middle of the road option of features and simplicity.

*NOTE: for all the aforementioned, please see their individual listing for a quick retailer price comparison!

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