The Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

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AHEAD: Find all the best water tables for your child right here!

When it comes keeping your little one busy this summer there is no better way than with water tables! I have been sharing some of the best water table activities for years right here and now you have the best guide for finding which water table is best for you and your kids!

Water Tables

I bought our very first water table when my daughter was a toddler, second hand for maybe $10. At the time, I didn’t realize how much fun they were or how many hours of outdoor play they could provide. It was a simple table with absolutely no play accessories. It had two separate bins connected with a slide but boy did that table get tons of use.

Although the used table worked at the time, I was not able to ever get it fully clean. It had been left out by the previous owners and was perpetually stained. Also with the addition of not just one but more kids to our family, I knew the following summer we would need an upgrade.

I did a bit of research on the best water table and picked one that had interesting play accessories, good drainage for cleaning and was large enough for multiple children (I share the one I have below). It met my needs, my aesthetics and my budget. This guide will help you understand what matters most to you when it comes to water to make a quick decision.

Benefits of Water Tables and Water Sensory Play

Along with being lot of fun and a great way to keep cool in the summer, water tables and water sensory play provides lots of opportunities to develop key skills.

Fine & Gross Motor Skills

While playing with water your little one will be working on their fine and gross motor skills through pouring, scooping, carrying, transferring, and lifting the water and other sensory toys around the table.

Sensory Exploration

When it comes to sensory exploration, water play  is perhaps one of my favorite mediums. From the sound of the pouring water to how the water feels (cold, warm), water play is a wonderful to let kids explore their senses. Adding in other items such as water beads or Pom Poms will allow children to further enhance the sensory exploration.through the different textures.

Social & Communication Skills

Water play can provide ample opportunities for language and communication development particularly if your child is playing with other children or if you, as the parent or care giver, get involved. These can include having to share tools or explain an experience they enjoyed or work cooperatively with another child in order to achieve a desired outcome with the water. All these experiences contribute to enhancing their social and communication skills.

Early Math Skills

Early math skills developed during water play include measuring and filling containers, counting items or determining whether or not they will be able to carry a pot filled to the brim or if they will have to dump some of it out. Water play also helps introduce and develop early math and scientific concepts. Beyond this water play also help develop problem solving skills and even cause and effect in children.

Concentration and Focus

One of my favourite things about water play is how easily your child will become immersed in their activity, losing themselves in play. It often leads to long periods of extended play and exploration in one particular activity. This can encourage children to focus and when an activity can hold a child’s attention for an extended period of time it helps to increase their attention span as they develop.

How to Choose the Best Water Table

I have created a short list of 4 things to consider when you choose a water table. These are things that have come up for me and my kids over the last 6 years of use using water tables.

  1. Play Accessories
  2. Size
  3. Drainage & Shelter
  4. Clean Up

Play Accessories for Water Tables

For your child to stay engaged in their water table you need not buy one that has a billion bells and whistles. In fact, from my experience your child can have just as much fun with a water table with a lot of play accessories as a simple one.

When looking at the different water table play accessories, take the age of your child into consideration. Young toddlers may not be able to use all the accessories at first. Ideally something to scoop water or sand and a slide or pathway for water to flow is all that is usually required at this age. For older children, look for a sensory bin with fine motor elements, for instance accessories that turn, swirl or has levers that can be used to change the direction of the water.


Bigger isn’t always the better when it comes to water tables. Consider how large of a water table you want will need. Think about how many children you plan to have use the table. For instance, when I purchased our current table I knew that eventually three children would be playing around it so I needed a table that would be big enough for everyone to play comfortably. Also consider how much storage space you have in a garage or shed to keep your table out of the elements especially if you live in a climate with 4 seasons.

Clean Up

Some water tables come with a small drain at the bottom where you can let the contents out while others don’t. This is something to consider when deciding on a water table. Ones without a drain will need to be emptied out manually. Being able to drain your table probably is important as it will ensure that mold won’t grow.


Having shelter with your water table is also something to consider. If your backyard or porch is very sunny you may want to have a shelter such as an umbrella attached to the water table to protect from the sun of very hot days.

If you find a water table you like but it doesn’t have shelter you can always stick a beach umbrella in the grass beside it to provide shelter.

The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

The Best Water Tables for Kids

(This post and list contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a commission. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.)

1. Little Tikes Flowin’ Fun Water Table – Most Engaging


  • Lets multiple kids play all at once
  • Pour water in the central tower to create a fun, cascading waterfall
  • Includes 13 interchangeable pipes, fittings, faucets, a scoop, bucket and boat
  • Connect to a standard garden hose, or pour water into the central tower, to create endless splashing fun
  • It’s super easy to take the pieces apart when you want to dry everything after they are finished playing
  • You can easily drain this water table with a plug located in the bottom of the table.
  • This water table doesn’t include any shelter.
  • The downside to this table is that since it connects to a hose and fills quickly, you’ll have to keep the hose on very low otherwise once it’s filled it overflows
The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

2. Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table – Best Value

Full disclosure this is the water table I have and love.


  • Drop balls down spiral, watching them go round and round and down into the water 
  • Turn the Ferris wheel to scoop up and drop off balls 
  • Fill the cup with water and pour into the funnel to power twin water wheel 
  • Includes 1 water cup and 5 round characters that squirt water
  • recommenced for older toddlers and preschoolers

You can easily drain this water table with a plug located in the bottom of the table.

That being said there are lots of things included in this water table to keep your little one engaged for quite a while. And armed with my 40+ other great water ideas you will be able to keep them playing all summer.

This water table is large enough for multiple kids to play. I used this table at my daughter’s third birthday party and at one point about 7 little 2-3 year olds were playing in it. All three of my kids can comfortably play with this table with lots of elbow room. It’s very light, once the water is drained and can store easily in our shed.


This water table doesn’t include any shelter.

The spiral in the center is a lot of fun for kids but it’s quite tall. When my twins were toddlers they unable to reach the top to put the balls in.

I ended up removed the center spiral which left a hole in the middle of the table. But it also left an small platform in the middle where they can place other items such as bowls, pots and pans. In the end I much prefer the modified table we have since it’s a bit more versatile and has tons of room for doing other water table activities. In

In my experience water tables are amazing outdoor toys and they will provide hours of fun in the summer but eventually the novelty of the water table will wear off. When that happens you will want to have a table that can be used for other sensory activities. A table where you can add dandelions or water beads or ice, for instance, to help keep them engaged. For me, this water table had that balance of fun play accessories and room open ended sensory play.

3. Step2 Ball Buddies Adventure Center Water Table – Most Imaginative


  • Includes four balls, a train, boat, dump truck, and helicopter! 
  • Two-tier water table play provides lazy river basin in addition to molded-in roadways, bridges, and loading dock platforms. 
  • Great for multi-child social play
  • Multiple stations and accessories allow kids to play together or to play on their own and experience water play in their own way. 
  • Clean-up is easy with convenient notches in the table legs to hold play balls and basin space to corral the accessories.
  • You can easily drain this water table with a plug located in the bottom of the table.
  • Cons: This water table doesn’t include any shelter. And since this table has lots of interactive road ways there isn’t a lot of room for using your water table for other sensory play items.

4. Step2 Waterpark Wonders Two-Tier Water Table – Most Versatile Water Table


  • Water table can be used as a one-tier or two-tier play area; pull out the bottom basin and push it back underneath when playtime is over.
  • Hook up a standard garden hose to make it rain with the sprinkler attachment 
  • Includes a kiddie pool on the bottom with the water table on top
  • Includes an umbrella attachment for even longer extended play on sunny days
  • In the box: two-level water table, strainer, bucket, cup, three boats with wheels, sprinkler attachment, and umbrella 
  • Great for toddlers
  • Includes a drain
  • Cons: Easy to assemble but difficult to move or store in a separate location once assembled
The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

5. Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table – Most Interactive Water Table


  • Has a large bucket to scoop up water from the pond and pour into the top waterfall tray. Create a rainfall effect as the water flow back into the pond
  • Has maze-like spinners, ramps and buckets that are activated by the water
  • You can rearrange the put-and-place maze pieces to create new waterfalls for fun cause and effect STEM play 
  • Great for preschoolers and kindergartners
  • Kids can make a spinning splash in the “rain” with the hand-held spinning wheel and use the side flipper to flip figures back into the pond! 
  • Easy to clean
  • You can easily drain this water table with a plug located in the bottom of the table.
  • This water table doesn’t include any shelter.

6. Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table – Best Water Table with Shelter


  • Two-tier design with two levels of water activities and a unique waterfall effect when filled with water. 
  • Large spacious basins allows for multiple kids to play
  • Includes umbrella
  • Interactive elements like the included figures, diving board, and flippers
  • Cons: No drainage plug on this table

7. Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table – Largest Play Area

This table is a little different but great for sensory play other than water. Great for sand, water beads or ice.


  • Elevated design is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers
  • Lid with elastic tie-downs keeps sand clean and dry 
  • Includes 2 shovels, 2 claw rakes, and a bucket 
  • Molded-in roadways on lid provide additional play surface
  • Large play area great for multiple children to play
  • This water table doesn’t include any shelter.
The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

8. Sand and Water Adjustable Table w/ Lids – Great for Older Kids


  • The emovable basins offer quick and easy water draining and cleaning.
  • The containers with lids pop right out of the small table’s base, making it a breeze to swap out water or sand
  • No drainage or shelter
  • Great indoor or outdoor
  • Taller design great for older kids
The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

9. Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay Sand and Water Table – Best Sand & Water Combo


  • Attach the water tower to the mountain to create a waterfall splash, or use on its own directly on the water table base for a cool cascade. 
  • Includes a non-leak drain plug to keep water in during playtime and for easy clean-up when playtime fun is done. 
  • Double-sided water and sand sensory table encourages social play for multiple little ones
  • In the box: Sand & water table base, lid, 5-piece accessory set
  • This water table doesn’t include any shelter,
The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

10. Little Tikes Frog Pond Water Table – Best Simple Water Table


  • Holds seven gallons of water
  • Simple design
  • Lots of room for other sensory play ides or other toys
  • chose this one above the other FUN looking ones with the ponies and waterfalls. For a few simple reasons.
  • Includes a flip/drain and dump water out for daily cleaning to prevent mold growth or slimy water.
  • Portable: you can break it down pop it into a small trunk with toys and take it to a park/beach or families house!
  • This water table doesn’t include any shelter.

11. Step2 Waterfall Discovery Wall – Most Portable Water Table

The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play
  • Scoop up water from the bottom basin and pour into the top to start the water maze fun 
  • Water maze pieces can easily be moved to create a new waterfall of zig-zag STEM play 
  • Large enough for two children to play as each can play together with the two-sided water wall design 
  • Easy to clean
  • Portable and easy to store
  • It’s easy to assemble, lots of toy options and makes the perfect gift. 
  • Cons: may need to add tools such as a bucket with holes

Love these Sensory Water Tables? Check out my book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

Looking for more summer activity ideas? Check out of these other round-ups for more ways to stay busy this summer:

  1. 40+ Fun & Easy Summer Crafts for Kids
  2. 25+ Outdoor Water Activities to Keep Kids Cool This Summer
  3. 40+ Awesome Outdoor Learning Activities for Kids
  4. 30+ Easy Outdoor Art Projects for Kids
  5. 60+ Awesome Outdoor Activities for Kids
  6. 45+ Awesome Water Sensory Bins for Toddlers & Preschoolers
  7. 40+ Water Table Activities for Toddlers
  8. 21+ Spray Bottle Activities for Toddler
  9. 20 Amazing Backyard Obstacle Courses
  10. 21+ Amazing Summer Sensory Bins
  11. 40+ Ice Sensory Play
  12. 12 Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Toddlers + Kids

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The 11 Best Water Tables for Hours of Outdoor Play

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