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9 Best Water Tables For Toddlers in 2020

In this article, we’re reviewing the best water tables for toddlers. These are awesome splish splashing fun for kids but also provide hands-on sensory play. So let’s dive right in!

We have spent many hours carefully researching dozens of models to select the 9 best water tables in 2020. We will compare them for size, features and the all important fun factor.

From cheap tables suitable for the smallest pre-schoolers right up to multi tiered monsters for older kids, there’s something here for every little one!

You’ll find our top three picks below, followed by a quick comparison chart of all 9 water tables, then a review of each model. Finally, we have guides on water safety and what you need to look for when buying a water table.

Best Value

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Table

See on Amazon

Budget Choice

Little Tikes Spiralin Seas Play Table

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Play Table

See on Amazon

Ultimate Choice

Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship

Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship

See on Amazon

Best Water Tables – Quick Comparison

After this chart we will review each model, in the same order, to make comparing them easier. If you’re on a small screen, click on the green plus sign, or the little picture of each water table, to see more features.

 NameCapacitySizeAgeAccessoriesPrice
Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water TableStep2 Rain Showers5 gallons39" L x 24" W
x 32" H
1.5+13 piece$$
Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play TableLittle Tikes Spiralin' Seas7 gallons29" L x 29" W
x 31.5" H
2+6 piece$$
Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate ShipLittle Tikes Pirate Ship5.5 gallons40" L x 29" W
x 38" H
2+9 piece$$
Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water TableLittle Tikes Fish ‘n Splash7 gallons29" L x 29" W
x 28.5" H
2+8 piece$
Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water TableStep2 Spill & Splash5.46 gallons25" L x 43.25" W
x 22.5" H
1.5+11 piece and
umbrella
$$
Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play TableStep2 WaterWheel4 gallons31.5" L x 31.5" W
x 27.88" H
1.5+4 piece$$
Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water TableStep2 Dino Dig4 gallons and
20 lbs sand
33" L x 29.5" W
x 30" H
2+7 piece$$
Step2 Duck Pond Water TableStep2 Duck Pond4 gallons31.5" L x 31.5" W
x 24.5" H
1.5+5 piece$
ECR4Kids Assorted Colors Sand and Water Play TableECR4Kids Assorted Colors8 gallons30" L x 30" W
x 20-26" H
3+Lids$$

Top 9 Best Water Tables in 2020 – Reviews

These reviews will help you make the right choice – they are in the same order as the comparison chart above.

1. Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond

Best Value Water Table

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table
  • Age Guide: 1.5+
  • Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Size: 39″ L x 24″ W x 32″ H
  • Included: 13 piece accessory set

This rugged plastic table includes 13 fun accessories to play with such as a rubber duck, frog and fish water squirters, water wheel and maze pieces. Little ones can rearrange the maze pieces to create new waterfalls. They can hurl figures into the pond using a flipper at the side of the table.

Having two tiers means that toddlers of different heights can use this water table at the same time. The top tier is 32″ high and the main tier is just 17.5″ high so even the smallest kids can reach it. It’s large enough for several kids to use at once but only weighs 12 pounds so is easy enough to move around.

One person can assemble it although it’s easier with two. Some buyers complain that they had to drill their own holes but the table comes with self-tapping screws. These are designed to screw right through plastic without pre-drilling, but a good quality screwdriver is advised.

We love this table and it’s our top pick because it has the most features and accessories of any table here but it is still in the medium price range. The versatility of 2 tiers, adjustable waterfall and large size for sharing make it very good value.

Pros:

  • Big enough for 3 or 4 toddlers to use at once
  • Two tiers is good for kids of different heights
  • Lots of features and accessories to play with
  • Drain plug to easily remove water
  • Light enough to move around easily
  • Made in USA

Cons:

  • An electric screwdriver (and an extra pair of hands) would be helpful for assembly
  • Squirters hold water inside so may need replacing over time

Check price on Amazon

2. Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table

Budget Choice

Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table
  • Age Guide: 2+
  • Capacity: 7 gallons
  • Size: 29″ L x 29″ W x 31.5″ H
  • Included: 6 piece accessory set

A water cup and 5 characters (balls that also squirt water) are included. Kids can use the cup to pour water into a funnel and watch it power two water wheels. There’s also a central spiral they can drop balls into and watch them gurgle round and down.

The central spiral is big enough for the squirter balls but if kids stuff other things down it they could get stuck… Hopefully larger adult hands can retrieve them – if not, the spiral will need to be unscrewed (7 screws) into two halves to remove the blockage.

At the side of the table, toddlers can turn a Ferris wheel to fish out or drop off balls and they can turn a spinner to make the water rotate slowly around the table.

We like the variety of sensory and mobile features in this water table, with a low price. There’s a lot of creative fun for toddlers and the squirter balls provide scope for water play anywhere, you have been warned 🙂

Pros:

  • One of the cheaper tables here
  • Big enough for two or three toddlers to play with at once
  • Spare parts (e.g. squirter balls) are available online
  • Drain plug to easily remove water
  • Light enough to move around easily

Cons:

  • Squirter balls hold water inside so may need replacing over time
  • Central spiral is fiddly to dismantle if things get stuck in it

Check price on Amazon

3. Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship

Ultimate Choice

Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship
  • Age Guide: 2+
  • Capacity: 5.5 gallons
  • Size: 40″ L x 29″ W x 38″ H
  • Included: 9 piece accessory set

Ahoy little mateys! There’s a cannon to take aim and squirt water from, spinners to create currents and even a working anchor to lower or raise. The center mast is a flowing water fountain – pour water into the crows nest and see everything spin.

The pirate ship comes with a bucket, scooper, strainer, small boat, a squirting shark, a character-sized life preserver and two pirate characters. But sadly no bottle of rum, sorry mom and dad!

To enhance the pirate theme, a skull and crossbones flag sits on top of the mast and a gangplank lets toddlers walk a naughty pirate off to meet his doom…

Pros:

  • Well thought out pirate theme
  • Big enough for 3 or 4 kids to play with at once
  • Lots of accessories
  • Spare parts available online
  • Drain plug to easily remove water
  • Suitable size for ages 2-5

Cons:

  • Awkward and quite heavy to move around
  • One of the most expensive tables here

Check price on Amazon

4. Little Tikes Fish ‘n Splash Water Table

Little Tikes Fish 'n Splash Water Table
  • Age Guide: 2+
  • Capacity: 7 gallons
  • Size: 29″ L x 29″ W x 28.5″ H
  • Included: 8 piece accessory set

The accessories feature a mounted fishing pole, 5 floating fishy critters, a water cup and a fishing net. Each critter is a different color and has a number on its back which can help little ones learn counting and colors as they play.

Kids can try to catch and count the critters with the pole (hard) or net (easy), helping them practice fine motor skills.

They can also fill the fish bowl with water until it overflows – watch it come splashing down in a tidal wave! There’s a catapult on the side of the table to hurl the critters onto the spinning lily pad in the center.

This is a sturdy but relatively small table that only weighs 10 pounds and assembly takes just 10-20 minutes, no tools required.

Pros:

  • Plenty of fun activities included
  • Drain plug to easily remove water
  • Easy to assemble
  • Light enough to move around easily

Cons:

  • Not really big enough for more than 2 toddlers to use at once

Check price on Amazon

5. Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table

The One with an Umbrella!

Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table
  • Age Guide: 1.5+
  • Capacity: 5.46 gallons in total
  • Size: 25″ L x 43.25″ W x 22.5″ H
  • Included: 11 piece accessory set and umbrella

The accessories include a variety of water cups, sea creatures, human swimmers and a cute starfish spinner in the top pool. There’s also an umbrella which provides shade to protect little ones from the hot sun. But usual sunscreen protection is still needed as kids won’t stay under the umbrella for long!

Toddlers can launch figures into the depths of the pool from a diving board or a side flipper, a good exercise in hand-eye coordination. But there aren’t as many moving parts to play with as some water tables, just the starfish to spin and create a waterfall.

However, because there are no drain plugs (so nowhere to leak from) this table is suitable for outdoor and indoor use. We still wouldn’t recommend using water indoors (kids love to splash!) But filling it with solids like sand or rice could make great sensory games e.g. finding buried treasures.

Although it’s a large two tier design, this table is quite short – just 22.5 inches high. The lower basin is a good height for an 18 month old and the top pool for up to a 3 year old. But older children may find it too low down for them to use comfortably for very long.

Pros:

  • Suitable for use outdoors (water) or indoors (sand etc)
  • Umbrella provides some protection from the sun
  • Big enough for 3 or 4 kids to play with at once
  • No drain plug means no possibility of leaks!

Cons:

  • No drain plug so needs to be emptied manually
  • Too low for older kids, best for up to 3 years old

Check price on Amazon

6. Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table
  • Age Guide: 1.5+
  • Capacity: 4 gallons
  • Size: 31.5″ L x 31.5″ W x 27.88″ H
  • Included: 4 piece accessory set

At this low price it comes with just 4 accessories – a cup, two boats and a water wheel tower. Parents could add more variety with suitable items from the home e.g. bath toys, balls or animal figures. If required, extra accessories for water tables are widely available and cheap to buy.

Separate sections in this activity table function as canals, lakes or moats – kids can use their imaginations to create their own water world.

Because this is one of the few tables without a drain plug (so no possibility of leaks) it is also suitable for indoor play – just fill it with sand or rice etc to create some sensory games or puzzles for toddlers e.g. finding hidden items.

On the other hand, no drain plug means that, if left outside, the table could fill up with mucky rainwater so it is best kept covered. If you plan to bring it indoors regularly, this table is wide and weighs 15 pounds so it isn’t the easiest to pick up and move around.

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest tables here
  • Suitable for use outdoors (water) or indoors (sand etc)
  • No drain plug so no possibility of leaks!
  • Big enough for 3 kids to play with at once

Cons:

  • Very few accessories included
  • Needs to be emptied manually
  • Doesn’t hold much water

Check price on Amazon

7. Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table

Super Cool Dinosaur Theme!

Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table
  • Age Guide: 2+
  • Size: 33″ L x 29.5″ W x 30″ H
  • Included: 7 piece accessory set

On one side is a multi level water pool for dinos to swim in. On the other side is a sand (or water) pit for deep dinosaur digs under the shade of a realistic looking palm tree. The sand pit area can be covered by a removable gray lid in the shape of a volcano, as shown in the picture above.

This mountain lid forms a gushing waterfall down to the large pool but also protects any sand underneath it from dirty rain in bad weather. However, the sand is unlikely to stay totally clean and dry during play as little ones will inevitably want to mix it up with water from the pool!

The accessories include 4 cute dinosaurs that can squirt water, 2 bucket scoops and a double ended shovel / rake. Kids can use the large scoops to pour water onto the volcano waterfall while the shovel and rake let them dig down to find the molded-in dinosaur bones and footprints at the bottom of the table.

This table is very easy to assemble and is a good size and height for 2-5 year olds who will love the dinosaur theme. We like that it can function purely as a fun water table, or a sand table, or both. There is only a drain plug on the water pool side though, not the sand pit side, but the table weighs just 14 pounds so it is not hard to empty manually.

Pros:

  • Dinosaurs!
  • Big enough for 3 toddlers to play with at once
  • Good quality accessories
  • Drain plug to easily empty the water pool
  • Suitable size for ages 2-5

Cons:

  • No drain plug on the sand pit side
  • Molded-in patterns on base can be harder to clean

Check price on Amazon

8. Step2 Duck Pond Water Table

Cheap Table for Very Young Toddlers

Step2 Duck Pond Water Table
  • Age Guide: 1.5+
  • Capacity: 4 gallons
  • Size: 31.5″ L x 31.5″ W x 24.5″ H
  • Included: 5 piece accessory set

It may have a low price but it does come with 5 accessories – a water slide, 2 rubber ducks, a squirting frog and a water scooper. If you want to add more, throw in some suitable items from the home e.g. bath toys, balls or animal figures. Extra accessories for water tables are also widely available and cheap to buy.

The table features a central spinner kids can use to swirl water around and there is a water slide to send ducks down for a dive into the pool. A side flipper can launch the bug eyed little frog into the pond where it can have a very hoppy time!

Although a reasonable size overall, this table is not very tall. 24 inches high makes it good for kids up to about 4 years old. Older children may find it too low down for them to use comfortably for very long.

Assembly is easy although some buyers report that the drain plug takes some strength to seat properly and avoid leaks. Overall, this is a good quality table for the money – weighing just 10 pounds, it is simple to put away when not in use.

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest tables here
  • Big enough for up to 3 toddlers to play with at once
  • Drain plug to easily remove water
  • Light enough to move around easily

Cons:

  • Few accessories included
  • Too low for older children, best for up to 3 or 4 years old

Check price on Amazon

9. ECR4Kids Assorted Colors Sand and Water Play Table

Best Water Table for Daycare

ECR4Kids Assorted Colors Sand and Water Play Table
  • Age Guide: 3+
  • Capacity: approx 4 gallons per basin
  • Size: 30″ L x 30″ W x 20″-26″ H (adjustable heights)
  • Included: translucent lids
  • Weight: 13 pounds

But it can also be great for family homes. Many parents will love the included snap on lids as they keep sand, water or toys secure in the basins when not in use. The lids are made of thinner plastic than the basins so are best kept out of kids reach during play, to avoid breakage.

The brightly colored basins each hold about 4 gallons of water and are removable for super easy draining and cleaning. It’s also easy to change the contents and they’re not limited to just storing sand or water.

The basins are round edged for safety and the table has a weather-resistant and fade-resistant finish. This makes it ideal for use in the backyard, classroom or playground.

The stations are easy to assemble and can be separated for individual use or connected to other stations to make a larger array. They don’t include any toys but are rugged and versatile – great for toddlers to use their imagination and play with others.

Pros:

  • Easiest table to clean
  • Snap on lids keep contents secure
  • No drain plugs so good for outdoor or indoor use – fill with water or sand etc
  • Sturdy and height adjustable metal legs
  • Heavy-duty polypropylene basins
  • Standalone or can be connected together

Cons:

  • Most expensive table here
  • No toy accessories included

Check price on Amazon

What You Need to Look For in a Water Table

Water tables are an awesome way to entertain and educate your kids. To make the right buying choice, here are some tips on what to consider.

What Age are Water Tables For?

Manufacturers recommend minimum ages – these guidelines should always be followed. Our reviews cover a variety of water tables for toddlers and preschoolers – the recommended minimum age starts at just 18 months.

Height of the table – avoid one which is too high for your toddler to reach easily or too low to comfortably play with for long. But young kids grow so quickly that a two tier water table (or one with adjustable legs) is more likely to remain a suitable height for at least a couple of years.

Accessories and features – try to match these with the age of the kids who will use them. Complex features like adjustable waterfalls may be too advanced for very young children, although they can develop the skills to use them as they grow. But a water table that has too basic features is unlikely to keep the interest of older kids for long.

If your child still has bags of energy after water play, why not let them bounce it out on one of the fun pogo sticks for kids that we reviewed recently? Our top pick for toddlers was a bungee jumper for ages 3+ and it has a soft foam base so can be used indoors or outdoors.

Cleaning Water Tables

As mentioned above, outdoor water tables in particular can get very dirty. Those with a textured or molded base (like the Dino Dig table below) will need more work to clean.

Kids playing with water and sand table

Similarly, features attached to the base of the table can make it fiddly to clean the table properly if they are fixed in position. Whereas features on the side of the table, such as flippers or slides, are usually removable – much easier to clean around and underneath them.

Accessories that squirt water also need to be checked occasionally for any signs of mildew build up – replace them if necessary.

Storage of Water Tables

Consider where the water table is going to be stored overnight or when not in use – indoors or outdoors:

Indoors – a lighter table is more portable if you frequently need to move it in or out of a building. A drain plug to easily drain the water out before storage is also a useful feature. Double check that the height and width of the water table don’t make it too hard to fit easily through any doorways.

Outdoors – if leaving the table outdoors permanently, it will need more frequent cleaning. Because dirty rainwater may contaminate it, small animals could make their home in it and birds will love to use it for target practice!

Important – for safety, always remove the drain plug after use if leaving the table outdoors. Otherwise rainwater could fill it up and create a risk of drowning for unsupervised kids.

Multiple Usage

The ideal water table in terms of versatility is designed for multiple uses i.e. can be used with water or solids like sand (or both). Likewise, a table without a drain plug is more versatile – good for outdoors fun on hot days and indoor play in bad weather.

Why? Because although rubber drain plugs work well to empty water outdoors, they are not ideal for indoor use in case they leak – and it’s likely that they will, eventually (unless you buy a replacement rubber plug).

Another possible nightmare scenario with a drain plug indoors arises if one of the kids takes the plug out (just to see what happens…) so all the water drains out onto your nice hardwood floor. Been there, seen that!

Water Table Safety

Whereas swimming pools and backyard ponds are dangerous places for toddlers, water tables are raised off the ground so children can’t fall in. However, parental supervision is still important. Adventurous toddlers are bound to try to climb up into the table at some point!

Sun Protection

Toddlers enjoy playing outside on hot sunny days and splashing with water may make them feel cooler.

sun shade for water table

But it’s crucial to protect their tender skin from too much exposure to the sun. Positioning the water table in the shade helps but shade (or a normal umbrella) does not provide total protection against UV rays.

Sunscreen can offer good protection but not all sunscreens remain effective if the child is splashing about in water, which they probably will be…

Table Height

All the water tables we have reviewed are at least 20 inches high off the ground. This means there is way less risk of a toddler just falling in than with a swimming pool or pond. Most tables are also too small for taller kids to actually climb into, although they will probably try…

However, water tables do hold gallons of water so young children must always be supervised by an adult. As a KidsHealth report on water safety warns: “Young children … can drown in less than 2 inches of water“.

Sharp Edges

Another safety risk is the possibility of sharp edges which could cause cuts to toddlers. All the water tables we’ve reviewed are made by reputable US companies to hopefully reduce that risk.

But, when buying a water table, it’s important to carefully inspect it after unboxing. Make sure there are no cracks in the plastic, uneven legs, rough or broken edges that could cause injury – return the item if there are.

Assembly

None of the tables here takes more than 10-20 minutes to assemble. However, it’s often tempting for us adults to try and build kids’ stuff as quickly as possible, so they can get on and play with it.

But do take the time to follow the assembly instructions carefully to ensure safety and avoid damage. Especially when fitting the legs and the drain plug.

For example, several tables include self tapping screws which the instructions state should be screwed directly into the solid plastic. Drilling your own holes to ‘make it easier’ could weaken the structural integrity of the joint and lead to cracks in future. Even more so if not using a special drill bit designed for plastic…

Benefits of Water Tables in Child Development

Playing with a water table can help develop a child’s social interaction, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills too. Any type of play may be helpful for the overall physical, social and cognitive development of toddlers but water tables are a particularly good example.

Social Interaction

Most water tables here can accommodate at least 2 or 3 toddlers playing at the same time. This can promote social skills in shared play – taking turns to use each feature or working together to create a super fast whirlpool with their hands.

Toddlers playing with water table

If they’re used by just 1 child, this is still a terrific opportunity for parents to spend time with them – get wet and join in the fun!

Hand-Eye Coordination and Motor Skills

Accessories like flippers let kids develop their eye-hand coordination as they play. Even a basic scoop can be good practice if the water in it is aimed at the top of a waterfall, or a rubber duck as it floats innocently by…

Toddlers can develop their fine motor skills when using spinners (or just their hand) to swirl water around the table. Accessories like water squirters are also a good way to build strength and practice squeezing or aiming.

STEM Education

A UCA STEM Institute report found that “Sand and water tasks allow children hands-on experiences that can lead to problem posing, problem solving, and opportunities to build connections between ideas.

Water tables provide plenty of opportunities for parents to help develop a child’s understanding of basic scientific principles like gravity, movement and water flows.

Questions are a good way to educate toddlers through play. See if the child can predict what will happen when using certain features.

For example – how much water does it take to fill a container, what happens when flipping if you pull the flipper back further, why do some accessories float and others don’t. All great questions, just be prepared with the answers!