why a water table is one of the best investments we’ve ever made

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Tableimage source

(fyi, I did not get paid for or compensated in any way for the following post.)

Before becoming a parent, I’d heard of water beds, but not water tables. Turns out this is a completely unnecessary yet wonderful “invention” for those of us with toddlers who don’t have pools and are trying to find ways to cool down at home without relying on that extremely popular invention called… television.

Our 19 month old can spend hours, literally hours, scooping water with a simple cup and pouring it: back into the water table…into another cup…onto his feet…on our feet…on the ground…on the nearby mulch, on a pile of rocks he has collected, into the flower pot, etc, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless and each new iteration is accompanied by a squeal of delight followed by all kinds of business-like concentration as he repeats the same action to slightly different effect 150 times.

water table

It’s not that water tables are the ultimate toy, it’s that water is. And this thing puts it exactly at his height. Besides, while playing with this, he is cooling us down, he is cooling himself down, the slate floor of our porch is getting clean, the flowers are getting watered, and well, basically everybody is happy. In fact, watching him play with this is somewhat meditative. It’s almost like being at the beach except without getting stuck in traffic or getting sand in every orifice.

My husband calls this (and all the corollary research our son does in the bath tub) hydro-dynamics. Indeed, this seems like a good foundation for becoming an oceanographer or hydrologist. Maybe he’ll be an engineer with a specialization in the science of…fountains or…man-made water falls…or water parks (ooh, I hope he can get us some free tickets). But once again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

water table happy

The point is that I recommend this. And I’m not getting paid to say so. When this water table plays out, we plan to fill it with sand, since we don’t have a sand box. I am hoping he still enjoys this to some degree next summer.

Do you have one of these? Do you want ours when we’re done with it? Or are you one of those sensible types who has every right to tell me that the exact same amount of joy can be extracted from a simple bucket? Feel free to leave a comment below…

22 replies

    • Good to hear! Yes, hoping to get some mileage out of it. Another great thing is that (unlike a more sensible bucket) a few kids can gather ’round it comfortably. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  1. Oh dear, that little guy of your has grown! We don’t have a water table, but water has always been a win with our toddler (it’s actually one of his favorite words to blurt out lol). We use a large and shallow Rubbermaid container filled with water with the same amount of enthusiasm on Little Dude’s part. I like that the water table can easily be transformed into a sandbox.

  2. First off,I think you might have the cutest lil boy ever! Your post brings back memories of my girls playing with their toys in the tub.They could spend an hour just filling and pouring out water from different shapes/toys..They also loved the Children’s Museum in Norwalk that had fun water tables to play with

    • Thanks Margaret! That table certainly brings the best out in him. Right before I took that super-happy pic he was sliding his little friend Eddie down the slide, ha! 🙂

    • Makes me think that we should save this water table so he can do demonstrations with it for his TED talk…Oh, the new level of hoarding that I feel coming on all in the name of TED talks…my apologies to you. 🙂

  3. Buckets and tables! 🙂 Ian will definitely love this table for at least one
    more summer if not two.
    -affectionately yours, the bucket lady.

    • Hi Amy – good to hear there is some longevity with this! It is funny to think of kiddies across the land pouring pouring pouring some more…Hope you are having a great summer 🙂

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