The Best 10 Water Tables for Toddlers (Easy to Setup and Clean)

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on September 11th, 2021

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If you want a home activity for your toddler that will help develop their growing brain, introduce the most basic math concepts, and keep them endlessly occupied, a water table is one of your best bets.

Here are those we consider to be the ten best water tables for toddlers. We evaluate which products are most straightforward to set up and clean, are sturdy enough for years of play, and are reasonably priced for the features offered. Best of all, we look for pure fun potential!

Our top picks of the best water tables for toddlers

Our first pick

Our opinion

More than just a water table, the Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water Table (check price on Amazonincludes self-contained games and five floating sea animals.

Activities include flipping animals to the spinning lily pad in the center of the table,  and filling the fishbowl until the container overflows, tipping into an ocean-like wave.

A great table for little ones who want to go fishing just like dad and grandpa. Let’s hope they both teach the little ones the basics of casting and reeling in!

This table takes adult assembly, requiring ten steps. No tools are needed. The table holds 7 gallons of water or 50 pounds of playground sand. Product dimensions are: 31.5 x 29 x 29 inches. Table weight: 9.06 pounds. Recommended for ages 2 and over.

What we love
  • The Little Tikes Table has games that appeal to older children rather than just toddlers.
  • There are three other water tables in this product line that will beautifully complement the Fish ‘n Splash table.
Watch for
  • The snap-in legs are not adjustable. Although older and taller children may still want to play the games with their younger siblings, they may need to kneel on the soft lawn to do so.
  • There is no cover for the table.
  • This product has no umbrella.

Best wooden water table

Our opinion

This Childcraft product (check price on Amazon) is high-end and would be right at home in the most exclusive preschool. It features a natural wood frame on lockable casters tucked within the frame. The removable acrylic bin is ideal for either water or sand, indoors or out.

Teachers helped design this table for longevity even with rugged use. You can easily clean and disinfect the sturdy plastic insert bin. The frame features dado construction and a four-coat UV acrylic finish. The product’s dimensions are 23.25 x 23.25 x 24 inches, and it weighs 23 lbs.

The wheels are non-marring hard PVC and completely hidden. The Childcraft table is a great long-term purchase for facilities, churches, or large families.

What we love
  • This is the ideal water/sand table for daycare, preschool, and upscale families.
  • The two sections can be used as intended with one side water and the other sand, or they can be refigured to fill both with either product.
  • The sturdy construction is extremely well planned.
Watch for
  • The price is, as you would expect, relatively high. You’ll want to be certain you need this amount of adaptability and quality before investing in this table.

Best miniature water table

Our opinion

The Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Table (check price on Amazonoffers young children their own miniature aquatic theme park. The spiral part of the toy is a large center tube that kids fill with water to start the whole shebang.

Water provides energy for turning wheels, powering a twin water wheel, and even a Ferris wheel that scoops up and drops off the balls. Set includes one water cup and five round character toys that squirt water.

Little Tikes recommends the table for kids from 2 – 6 years. There is a drain, but you’ll have to tilt it to empty the toy. Product dimensions are: 29 x 29.5 x 31.5 inches. Item weight: 11.9 pounds.

What we love
  • The Tikes Spiralin’ Seas table offers preschoolers, as well as toddlers, appropriate sensory and neuromotor training.
  • This is one of four Little Tikes water tables that can be bought together and used for backyard extravaganzas.
Watch for
  • Some buyers were unimpressed by the accompanying toys. They substituted common household items like measuring cups, spoons and other plastic receptacles that are sturdier and, in the end, more fun.
  • The 29-inch height, while great for 4-year-olds, is a bit high for their younger siblings.

Best sand & water table

Our opinion

Step2 (check price on Amazon) has produced a sectioned play table that you can use in a bunch of different ways. One side can be for sand play and the other for water. If you have two kids who fight over toys a lot, each can have their separate area.

The table comes with a cover meant for the sand compartment and only covers one side. There is a plug in the water segment. The seven included accessories are more fun than most tables offer.

The table is designed for children from 2 – 5 years. The water section holds about three gallons of water, (or between two and four inches deep.) Product dimensions are: 31 x 28.2 x 29.5 inches. Item weight: 11.46 pounds.

What we love
  • Includes a working plug at the bottom of the table for easy emptying.
  • This configuration will allow two children to have their own space, that should keep the peace!
Watch for
  • The sand and water sides are close together. So it's inevitable they'll get mixed during play.
  • No umbrella included, though if you can find one to fit the pre-drilled hole, you can set one up yourself.

Best water table toys

Our opinion

CHOKING HAZARD: There is a serious risk warning with this product. Make sure that children under 3 yrs. are supervised.

The SCS Direct Ocean Sea Creature (check price on Amazonis not a water table, but a 30-piece toy set for use with any water table. Although the animals are BPA-free and colored with non-toxic paint, the sizes represent an extreme choking hazard for little kids under three years old.

The toys measure one to three inches. Buy this product only for older children. If a baby from 3 – 36 months is ever in your home, remove smaller pieces.

Animals can be used in other ways, such as decorations, for projects, outdoor play or even for party favors. The set includes 6 ocean plants, 22 sea creatures, and a mountain. The item weighs 1 lb. in a box measuring 8 x 6 x 8 inches.

What we love
  • The toys have many possible uses, from decorating a school project to use in an aquarium.
  • The toy set is lightweight, easy to store, and BPA and toxin-free.
Watch for
  • The toys represent an extreme choking hazard. Do not buy if you have children under three years old in your home.
  • Some of the toys will fit on a cupcake for a birthday party. Others are too large. If you plan on using these toys for a project, research whether the sizes are appropriate.

Our sixth pick

Our opinion

Another product from Step2, the Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table (check price on Bed Bath & Beyond) has an oval design that will accommodate three children comfortably, each controlling one area for themselves.

The design is two-decker. The top tray captures poured water that spills with a splash onto the main deck below. This table will fascinate a young one while he watches the spills of its continuous round of scoop and pour.

The resulting waterfall activates the motion of ramps and spinners, creating a cascade of water. The table even has a natural-sounding rainfall effect. There are flippers and maze pieces that will interest older children as they reconfigure the table.

Comes with a 13-piece playset. This toy is recommended for 18 months and over.

What we love
  • Reconfiguration by children recreates the play space at any time.
  • There are lots of ways to play with this table that suit kids from toddler to kindergarten ages.
  • The two heights make spilling water a lot more fun.
Watch for
  • The 13-piece playset is rather large for this market. It might be difficult to keep them all clean and stored to prevent losses.
  • If younger ones are around, test the play pieces for safety. They should be large enough for a child not to swallow.

Best for toddlers

Our opinion

If your little ones are bundles of energy, always on the go, and into everything, then here’s a water table (check price on Walmartwith all the features they’ll be able to handle. Every part of this set of outdoor toys is pirate-themed.

They can aim a water cannon at loads of spinning items. The mast acts as a water fountain with constant flow. The anchor raises and lowers, as though on a real pirate ship. This table is excellent for several children at once to play with, a play date dream come true.

Recommended for ages 2 – 6 years. Product dimensions are: 40 x 29 x 38 inches. Item weight is 19.52 lbs.

What we love
  • Lots of water activity. Be sure the kids are in their swimming togs while they play.
  • The toy set is lightweight, easy to store, and BPA and toxin-free.
Watch for
  • There have been some issues reported involving product quality and missing parts. Inspect carefully before assembling.
  • Look over parts for holes, mismatches, and warping.

Best water table for 4 and 5-year-olds

Our opinion

This is a real Activity Center (check price on Amazonusing water and sand. However, it’s also an all-inclusive product that you can set up and forget about the usual problems.

This product is a two-part table with a higher ridge between the sides, which will help guard against too much sand and water mixing. The table looks upscale and will fit perfectly in a well-landscaped backyard. The finish is faux wood plastic.

The lid fastens on the table with elastic tie-downs. Once the plastic cover is in place, the table becomes a play area for blocks, clay, etc. The playset includes bridges, cups, boats, and ramps. It’s recommended for children aged from two to eight years and weighs 25.8 lbs.

What we love
  • Parents report using this product for years with little degradation.
  • Everything you’ll need is included in this playset.
Watch for
  • Will need a permanent place since it’s not as portable as other tables. This might cause a problem with grass cutting in a backyard.
  • At nearly 26 pounds, you'll need two adults to flip and empty the side without the drain.

Best with storage

Our opinion

This Simplay3 Water Table (check price on Amazon) is an easily configurable play station for not only water play, but also arts & crafts projects, building with blocks, and even for picnics. Accessories include four snack-time cup holders.

The table has four different patterns to suit the day’s activity. It collapses for easy storage. The top is recessed and placed in the middle of two bins that hold blocks, picnics, paints, or toys.

This table won the Parent’s Choice Award, the Parent and Teaching Choice Award, and the 2017 National Parenting Product Award. Parents have given it repeated excellent reviews.

The table is for children two years and up. Product dimensions are: 27.9 x 20.9 x 18.9 inches. Item weight: 19 lbs.

What we love
  • Parents and educational organizations have endorsed the table.
  • This Simplay product is more than just a water table. It is a fully configurable table for indoors and out, home or classroom.
  • Because it's collapsible, it won’t take up valuable space in the playroom or the garage.
Watch for
  • Has no drain, and the unit is heavy at about 20 lbs. It might take two people to flip it over for drainage.

Best for 1 to 3-year-olds

Our opinion

The manufacturer recommends this table (check price on eBay) for children from two to eight years. The water table features twin water slides, diving boards, and dump buckets. There are two separate areas for water and sand play.

If you have a preschooler and an older primary school child, they’ll both be able to have fun while playing together. It’s a great chance for a big brother or sister to help your younger child develop physical and imagination skills.

There is a drain plug in the bottom. The table holds 50 lbs. of playground sand and 4 gallons of water. Product dimensions are: 26.5 x 26.5 x 34.5 inches. Item weight: 14.7 lbs.

What we love
  • The Sandy Lagoon Waterpark is fun for a wide range of children.
  • The two sections can be used as intended, with one side water and the other sand, or they can be refigured to fill both with either product.
Watch for
  • If you only have a toddler at home, this table could be above their current abilities. It might be better to buy one for younger children instead.
  • There is not much room for free play because of all the equipment on the table.

Warning!

Most of these water tables come with playsets and toys. When considering purchasing one for your toddler, why not spend an extra $10 and make sure your little ones keep safe.

Amazon offers a Small Object Tester. This clear plastic tube will let you know right away if a toy is safe enough for your child.

You can also use an empty toilet paper roll. If the toy fits through the cardboard roll, this means it’s too small for toddlers and should be discarded.

Remember that not only your own children need protection, but their younger cousins, neighbors, and siblings of friends. When babies and toddlers visit your home, take care to remove small play objects.

What to look for in a water table

  • Safety always comes first. Reading the reviews of a water table will give you the opinions of parents and grandparents. Pay attention to these. When the water table arrives at your door, you must carefully inspect your purchase. Count the pieces to make sure they match the bill of lading. Look for sharp edges, pinholes, or cracked pieces. If you find any inconsistencies, call the manufacturer’s customer service line immediately. You’ll find their number on the enclosed directions.
  • Be sure the height is right for your child now and for the next couple of years. If you have a fast-growing toddler, buy for the future. For now, you can always leave the legs off and let the child play in the container right on the lawn.
  • Whether you choose three legs or four, consider the table’s stability. Toddlers fall a lot and will usually grab onto the table to stop their fall. A lightweight or out-of-whack ratio of product dimensions will cause greater problems when that happens. Imagine three toddlers playing together with the water table. They’ll not only knock each other over, but numerous toys and gallons of water (or pounds of sand) might cascade over them. Because such occasional spillages are inevitable, put the table on the lawn for the little kids. At least they’ll land on a softer surface.
  • How easy is it to clean, and, occasionally, disinfect the water table and accessories?
  • How will you store the set? Can it be easily disassembled or stored in a box? Can you safely store the table over the winter?
  • How about those included toys? Some are better than others. Mostly toddlers prefer to splash in the water while throwing the toys aside. It might be smarter to store the toys until your tot is a few years older. Just give them a plastic cup or two and let them go for it!
  • Umbrellas and covers are something to consider. For protection from the sun, a covered patio is ideal. The newest outdoor invention is the Sun Sail. This reasonably priced UV blocking device can be set up anywhere outside in your yard, the park, or at grandma’s house in minutes. Bonus: it’s great for picnics.
  • Covers for the table itself are challenging to find. You’ll either need to empty the table when not in use or cover it well. We’re worried about mosquito larvae and cats here. One mother had the perfect solution. She bought a fire pit cover and stretched it over the entire table. For about $10, it could be the bargain of the summer.
Child stands in water

The most fun you can have with kids and water!

  1. Crazy showers! When my daughter turned four, we had lots of little friends and not much money. Hey, it was the 70s; no one had money! Since it was August, we had an outdoor possibility. We told the little girls to wear their swimsuits. When they arrived, we gave each one a can of cheap shaving cream and turned on the sprinkler. It was the best party ever! You could do the same in your yard. Use the water table for calmer play when they tire of running around, screaming, and squirting foam.
  2. Big backyard super extravaganza! For about the price of renting a bouncy house, you could purchase four water table sets. For instance, Little Tykes has a line of four different water/sand tables. For the next toddler and small kid’s birthday party, the next family reunion, or daycare / preschool field day, you can quickly put together a veritable waterpark wonderland.
  3. Four water and sand tables located around the perimeter can surround the coolest lawn sprinkler you can find. We like the kinetic art sprinkler from Art-Artifact. It’s a wee bit expensive, but totally cool all year round. It works great in flower beds. The advantage of the greater height is that the water doesn’t come from the ground level, so no toddler is going to insist on sitting on it all afternoon. Secondly, the spray of water is gentle enough for fun but not too much fun. The best part is that you can create the entire circus again in an hour and with no more expense.

And the winner is…

The Naturally Playful Sand & Water Activity Center (check price on Amazonchecks every box and is our clear winner. The cost of the center doesn’t cost much more than competing water tables, particularly when you amortize the cost of its considerably longer product life.

Your kids can happily play with it from toddlerhood to school age. The center is attractive, will look great in any backyard, and sports a well-secured protective cover and a working umbrella.

A real plus is that the kids can use the cover as another playing surface for building blocks, clay play, and other activities. Think of this as an investment rather than a table you’ll need to replace next year.

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on September 11th, 2021
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