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A great water table provides outdoor entertainment options for small children, plus it's a fun way to cool off on warm days without having to go to the pool.
We researched dozens of water tables from top toy brands, judging them on sturdiness, level of engagement, and safety. Our top choice is the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table, which stands out for its compact size, range of activities, and durability.
Here are the best water tables of 2022.
Best Overall: Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table
Multiple activities included
Suitable for various ages
Can be difficult to wipe clean
Who else recommends it? The Strategist, Insider, and Good Housekeeping also picked the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table.
What do buyers say? 93% of 12,700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
For a toy that’ll grow with your babies, opt for a versatile option, like this one from Little Tikes. It is short enough for younger kids but not too small or boring for older toddlers, earning our top spot on this roundup. We love that this colorful table has plenty of engaging activities including balls they can drop down a spiral slide, a Ferris wheel that scoops up and drops off balls, a cup to fill and pour down a water wheel, and more.
Despite the seemingly endless activities at the kids’ disposal, this water table is also convenient for parents because it’s only weighs 10 pounds. Carry it from spot to spot based on the angle of the sun that day, or stash it in your garage when not in use to keep it in prime condition.
Thousands of satisfied users report that assembly only takes about 15 minutes and this pick holds up well over time. One thing to note is that the bumpy texture of the water table may be hard to clean, but with proper upkeep and storage, your child will be enjoying this toy for years to come.
Best Budget: Little Tikes Little Baby Bum 5 Little Ducks Water Table
Sturdy for little ones to pull themselves up with
Plenty of engaging activities
Plug can be hard to use
If you don’t want to spend a ton on a water table that you may only get a single season out of, the Little Tikes Baby Bum water table is our favorite budget-friendly option. But, you won't sacrifice fun with this affordable pick. This water table comes with over 10 pieces, including five little ducks, a water cup, a net, a toy frog, squeaking frogs on a log, and more. With the toys, your child can pour, spin, scoop, squeak, and launch.
Plus, there’s ample room for more than one child—at least two to three toddlers can fit comfortably at this engaging water table. What’s more, though interactive enough for older toddlers, the table has a low profile that’s suitable for younger babies just learning to pull themselves up. It’s the perfect combination for sibling pairs with different age-based needs.
Best for Toddlers: Step2 Waterfall Discovery Wall
Minimal space required
Can be used outdoors or in a shower or bathtub
The water does not always trickle down each feature perfectly
Though a slight departure from your standard water table, this vertical water maze is no less fun. In fact, it’s an arguably more age-appropriate option for older toddlers who need a bit more stimulation to stay busy, since the maze can be assembled and disassembled to their liking. Providing hours upon hours of new and interesting activity, it's a great tool for fostering imagination, while also helping kids understand cause and effect.
If you have space constraints, you’ll love that the overall footprint of this water table is a bit smaller, since the fun goes up rather than out.
Best Pool: Step2 Play & Shade Pool
Included umbrella for shade
Though not technically a water table, the Step2 Play & Shade Pool suits little ones who really like the water aspect of this type of play. Like a traditional water table, this small wading pool features an interactive play element (three funnel cups and a fun spinning water wheel) that easily attaches to the included umbrella, so you won't have to worry about sunburn on sunny days.
While there’s plenty of standing room for splashing fun using your own variety of water-safe toys, the pool also has two seats on either side of the umbrella, so kids can nestle in and play with the included accessories.
Best for Babies: ToyVelt Sand Water Table for Toddlers
Low to the ground
Can tip over easily
This water table takes low profile to a whole new meaning, considering it sits only about six inches off of the ground. Of course, that makes it the perfect option for babies who aren’t yet standing or doing so reliably. If your baby can sit up—generally around six or seven months—they’ll love splashing their hands in this small, simple water table.
Once your child is ready to take on a larger water table, this one still has a usable life as a toy for the beach or the pool, since at just about 2.6 pounds, it’s extremely portable.
Best With Umbrella: Best Choice Products Kids 3-in-1 Outdoor Convertible Wood Activity Sand & Water Picnic Table With Umbrella and Play Boxes
Includes umbrella for shade
Only takes about 30 minutes to put together
Convertible to a picnic table
Wood needs to be sealed to protect against the elements
On a sunny day, chances are you want the kids to get out and play—but blazing sun isn’t good for delicate baby skin. A water table with an umbrella is a great option to keep everyone cooler and safer. We love the idea of this multi-tasking table. It has two built-in bins for sand, water, or a combination of the two. They’re nestled in the middle of a table that has benches on either side, so kids can sit under the shade of the umbrella while they play.
The best part is that you can simply place the extra included wooden piece over the bins to transform the water table into a small picnic table suitable for playtime, arts and crafts, or a snack or meal.
Best with Accessories: Little Tikes Anchors Away Pirate Ship
Can accommodate multiple kids at once
Multiple accessories for play
Drain plug does not always stay in place
With all of its interactive features, this pirate ship-inspired water table is sure to keep toddlers and kids of all ages entertained. They can squirt water from the cannon, create currents with the spinner, spin the steering wheel, raise and lower the anchor, play pretend with accessories like pirate characters, a boat, a squirting shark, and a character-sized life preserver—or just generally splash away the day.
Like other great water tables, this one has a low profile that makes it a suitable option for the younger set. It also has a long, soft triangular shape that makes it suitable for a small group of kids—think three to four—to play simultaneously.
Best with Sand : Crate & Kids Sand and Water Table
Suitable for water and sand
Convertible to a normal table
Does not stand up to the elements as well as plastic options
Though undoubtedly expensive, this water table has two really great perks. One, it looks attractive in your yard since it’s not a bulky and bright plastic toy. Plus, it’s on the bigger side, so it can accommodate more children, say the six or so kids at the family barbecue.
The sturdy 100 percent powder-coated iron base and the legs have two separate areas—one for water, one for sand—that are separated by a metal divider with two drain plugs per bin for easy cleanup. It also comes with a very aesthetically pleasing protective solid wood lid with handles that can be used as a play surface when the water table is covered.
The best overall water table is the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table because it has plenty of accessories to keep kids engaged—and learning—for hours on end. It’s also low-profile, so you can use it for both older babies and active toddlers. Another fun and affordable option is the Little Tikes Little Baby Bum 5 Little Ducks Water Table. With ample space and plenty of accessories, this is a great option for more than one toddler to enjoy at a time.
What to Look For in a Water Table
Bigger isn’t always better. If you have a young baby just barely standing, a small, low-profile water table might be the best, and safest, option. But if you have multiple kids or often host playdates, you may want a larger option that suits a wider range of ages and can accommodate more hands simultaneously.
If backyard aesthetics matter, it may be worth splurging on one of the pricier wood or iron water tables. They’re more attractive than the colorful plastic alternatives, plus they are very sturdy, so they’ll last a long time with proper care.
If your kids are younger, a few simple features—such as cups to pour and/or a water wheel—will do. But if your kids are a bit older and more active, look for a water table with more to do. Think water mazes, fishing rods, and more.
Most water tables come with their fair share of activities and accessories like scooping cups, but less common accessories like umbrellas are arguably even more important. You may also want to keep an eye out for tables with special features, like multiple drain plugs to make emptying and cleaning easier, or seats for comfortable playtime.
How do you store a water table?
While it can be tempting to just keep your water table outside, leaving it exposed to the elements means that it can become covered with pollen, dirt, leaves, and other unwanted grime and gunk. Plastic water tables are lightweight and can be emptied, scrubbed clean, and wiped dry after use and stored in a garage or other storage area. You can also cover your dry water table with plastic or a tarp before storing to keep it from getting dirty or dusty. Wood options should always be stored inside because they won't hold up to the elements as well as plastic ones. To prevent this, consider using a sealant on your table to protect it from rusting or staining when it rains or snows.
What age is appropriate for a water table?
Water tables are geared toward babies and toddlers. Babies who can sit up, generally starting at around six months, are old enough to enjoy a water table. Be sure to pay attention to the product label before buying to make sure that the water table you are purchasing is age appropriate for your child and any other children who might be sharing it on playdates, and to determine how long they will be able to use it.
Where do you put a water table?
The most natural place for a water table is in your backyard. Water tables are lightweight so that you can easily move them around to keep babies and toddlers out of harsh sunlight. If you don't have a backyard, you can use a water table in the front yard, a secure balcony or deck, or a local park if allowed. Some lightweight plastic options may even be suitable for the bath or shower.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt has four kids—all under the age of three—so it’s fair to say she’s spent her fair share of time facilitating afternoons playing at water tables. Her family has a Little Tikes water table, though she’s definitely lusting over the more refined option from Crate & Barrel.
Additional reporting was done by Julia Fields a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product round-ups, expert-focused articles, and more.