UPDATED 2021: You will find 40+ fun and easy ways to keep your water table fun and interesting for your toddler and preschooler. Great water table ideas to beat the summer heat!
Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and thus has a enoumous positive impact on brain development.
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I first got a water table for my daughter when she was two years old. I bought it second hand not sure how much she would play with it.
Boy was I wrong. It was such a hit that I wish I had gotten it a year earlier. When she was three I bought a new one because our old one had been left out all winter and was dirty beyond repair. It has been the best summer backyard toy hands down.
She played with it everyday when we first bought it.
But after a while like everything her interest in it started to decrease. So I came up with a bunch of easy and fun things to include in our water table in order to extend its play life over the summer.
Here is a list of 35 of the best ideas we did. These ideas alone and a combination of them lasted us for most of the summer!
I included lots of pictures to help you as well as a list of most of the supplies you’ll need. This is your best resource this summer if you have this water table!
Ok let’s get started.
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There are different types of water tables. All of them are fun and will work with all or most of these activities. If you want to create small worlds in your water table, try to look for a sensory bin that has two or more sections.
Here is a selection of great water table options:
- Popsicle Molds
- Kitchen utensils (slotted spoons, spatula, whisk)
- Dish Soap
- Ice Cube Tray
- Muffin tin
- Herbal tea
- Plastic Play Food
- Play Kitchen Accessories Utensils, Pot, Pans, and More
- Plastic Easter eggs
- Lego or Duplo
- Washable Paints
- Pom Poms
- Squeeze food caps
- Small metal objects
- Magnetic Wands
- Water Beads
- Foam Letters
- Magnetic fridge letters
- Giant Water Beads
- Spray Bottle
Looking for more fun outdoor water activity ideas? Check out these amazing post with more ways to play with water for kids of all ages!
35 Amazing Water Table Ideas
Foam letters and a slotted spoon or spatula. Have your little one spoon out the letters and match them to letters written with sidewalk chalk on the ground or just scoop them out and identity them.
Water Table and Funnels
This is so simple and so fun. Just grab a few funnels and let them play. The smaller the funnel the better, that way the water flows through it slower. You could also add come plastic cups or containers.
For Vegetable Washing simple dump some plastic play food into the sensory bin add some dish soap and a whisk and let their imaginations take over. I would make sure that the play food is either small enough to fit down the center water slide or too big to even fit. This will save you having to dislodge stuck play food later on.
Magnetic Eggs Fishing
Plastic Easter eggs with small magnets, coins or counting chips inside. Think Magnetic Easter Hunt but in water!
Chalk and Water
This is a fun process art activity you can do in the water table. Colour mixing and drawing with sidewalk chalk in the water table.
Water Table & Popsicles
I don’t use real popsicles for this activity but food colouring and water popsicles made using popsicle molds. Check out Popsicle Letters for how to make the popsicles.
Giant Water Beads
So simple but so much sensory fun! Grow your giant water beads over night so that they are ready for play the next day and add bubble for the ultimate sensory water experience!
This was as simple as handing her a spray bottle and letting her spray water all over the water table. It entertained long enough for me to get some gardening done and bonus she was able to work her fine motor muscles!!
Here are more activities that work well in a water table as well. Click the links for how to set them up. Just switch out the sensory bin for your water table.
More Water Table Ideas for Kids
Watch the Garden Water Table in action on Youtube!
Floating Rainbow Balls in the Water Table – Simple Fun for Kids
Dish Washing Water Table – Frogs and Snail and Puppy Dog Tails
Colourful Ice Boats – Busy Toddler
Washing Farm Animals Sensory Bin – Coffee Cups and Crayons
Small World Building Site – The Boy and Me
Soap Fluff Sensory Play – The Imagination Tree
Ocean Play Sensory Table – Stir the Wonder
Dinosaur Small World – No Time for Flashcards
Sensory Spring Water Table – Simple Play Ideas
Water Balloon Sensory Bin – Simple Fun for Kids
Ice Water Table – Busy Toddler
Beach Water Table – Sugar Spice and Glitter
Sand and Water Tables Kids LOVE! – Rhythms of Play
Sponges in the Water Table by Things to Share and Remember
Flower Sensory Bin for Kids by Adventure in a Box
WILL YOU TRY ANY OF THESE WATER TABLE IDEAS WITH YOUR KIDS THIS SUMMER? Pin it for later!
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Looking for The Best Sensory Bins for Endless Creative Play?
I am so excited to announce that I wrote a book of sensory bins! Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids: 60 Easy Creative Play Projects That Boost Brain Development, Calm Anxiety and Build Fine Motor Skills.