Are you looking for a new toy to help your growing child have fun while developing critical cognitive skills? A water table is a great choice!
Water tables are great ways to keep cool outdoors in the summer, but many can be moved indoors for rainy day play as well. They provide hours of fun, but don’t worry about a mess. Many models come with drainage valves for quick and easy cleanup, and most plugs are sturdy enough that only a grownup can release them.
Water tables are educational tools as well, helping your child’s developing brain, and even fostering social skills! They’re a versatile toy to help your child learn through the power of play.
What to Look for in a Water Table
Water tables are just what they sound like—they are tubs, typically on raised platforms, that can fill with water for water play. Specific models have an area for sand, as well. Some come loaded with features, while others are open and spacious.
Water tables come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. So how do you know what to look for to find the best water table for your little one? Kids will naturally gravitate towards different styles of play, depending on where they are in their development. So the first thing to look for is whether or not the water table is age-appropriate to engage your child fully.
Here are several other factors to consider when shopping for a kid’s water table, such as:
- How large is it?– That is important both in terms of room to play and accessibility. Make sure the table isn’t too high off the ground for your little one.
- Is there a game included? – Some water tables include a structured game. Others are simply open tubs for imaginative play.
- Are there accessories included? – Some come with water toys so your child can begin to play as soon as the table is set up. With others, toys are sold separately.
- What is it made out of? – Your new water table is sure to be a popular toy with your child. So be sure to look for sturdy materials capable of standing up to natural wear and tear.
- Is it made for indoor or outdoor play?
- Is it portable?
Why Buy a Water Table?
First things first, water tables are tons of fun! But that’s not all. Water tables can be educational tools that support cognitive development in young children. Learning through play is incredibly powerful, and one of the best ways for kids to learn new skills and have them stick.
Water tables provide a soothing, sensory-oriented experience. And they help foster development of fine motor skills, spatial reasoning, cause and effect relationships, and more. Many have specific educational games built-in, to encourage learning about letters and numbers, for example.
They’re also perfect for play dates, as they encourage sharing and parallel play. That will help foster your child’s burgeoning social skills. This is one of the most critical areas of early childhood development, and it can be challenging to find opportunities for your toddler to play with other children before they reach school age.
Water tables are also a great way to spend time outside in the hot summer months. They’re a focused outdoor activity, with cool water to help your child beat the heat. Plus, several come with a built-in umbrella, or even sprinklers to make staying cool even easier.
I. Best Water and Sand Tables
Water tables with sand enhance your child’s overall sensory experience. Here are our favorite models:
II. Best Water Tables for Toddlers
There are water tables made for kids of all ages. These are our favorite water tables for toddlers:
III. Best Water Tables for Older Kids
These are our favorite water tables for kids four and up:
IV. Best Large Water Tables
These super-sized water tables are great for families with multiple children, and can even be used in classrooms:
The Final Word
Water tables are excellent toys that promote social and cognitive development in young children. There is an immense number of different models available on the internet, all with different strengths and weaknesses. If you follow this guide, you’ll be able to shop confidently and find the water table that is the right fit for you and your family.
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