No matter where you live or what you have planned this summer, warmer weather more than likely means your kiddos will be anxious to get outside — but packing up all their shit and actually going somewhere is often way more work than it’s worth, right? By the time you bundle up the best on-the-go snacks, get there, unpack the snacks, slather on child-safe sunscreen against their will and put out the chairs, it’s probably time to go back home already. (Did we mention getting them in and out of the car seats?)
Pro mommy-ing hack: ditch the destination entirely. Instead, stay home and be the cool mom with these backyard water tables that will keep them from whining, “Mooooom, I’m hooootttt” every five minutes and keep them entertained for hours on end. And since it’s not a full-on backyard inflatable pool (though we love those, too!), you don’t even need to force them into bathing suits if you don’t feel like it. Who knows, you may even have time to sip that rosé spritzer you poured yourself for once.
Best Water Table for All Ages
Things that make a water table great: Multiple levels (read: great for pouring/dripping/splashing), bright colors, accessories that will keep your little ones’ interest… and this Little Tikes version has it all. But even better? Rather than standing on legs, its pool-like base sits on the ground, making it great for crawlers (or, for that matter, pre-crawlers, too!) straight on up through bigger little tykes. If they can sit on the ground, they can splash and play. Translation: ALL the kiddos playing happily together, and peace in the mama kingdom. Hellooo, you’re welcome.
Best Water Table for Budding Engineers
A successful water table is, in fact, generally successful because it lets your kiddos get a little wet (and getting wet, like getting dirty, holds unending joy for tinies, right?) and it lets them explore and learn how gravity, H2O and all that fun stuff works. A table, then, with a spiral tube and turny-circle-thingy — these are scientific words, ladies — is perfect on both accounts, and will hopefully hold their attention for extended periods of time. (It’s all relative these days, amiright?)
There are over 4,000 reviews on Amazon. One mom saying this: “This toy is awesome! I put it together with my toddler and soon to be one year olds “help” took about a half hour tops to put together. Easy enough instructions. My only regret is that I didnt get one sooner!! This is awesome!! My almost one year old playing with it for a half hour non-stop and my almost three year old played longer.”
Best Water Table for Space Saving
If you’re less into the idea of a physical table and more into the idea of a portable — and storable – water kit that lets them learn about the magic of liquid (!!) without turning your backyard into an amusement park, this super affordable set may be custom-made for you. It comes with all sorts of tubing and spray bottles and funnels and cups to let them play pouring all the live long day, and, even better, it all packs up when bedtime arrives. It can be used in the baby pool you finally broke down and bought, in your kitchen sink, in the bathtub… you name it.
Best Water Table for Teaching Life Skills
OK, fine, we admit, it’s not exactly a water table, in the traditional sense of the word. But we’re all about supporting each other here, so stick with us, ok? This water car (is that a thing?) is like a Fred Flinstone truck/water table/mini playground all wrapped up into one, and will provide the same glorious water play with the added bonus of teaching them how to wash a car by hand, making it perfect for those high-energy Tazmanian devils you love so much who will one day be put. to. werk. All you need is a hose to fill it and some sunscreen and your summer Saturdays are *set*.
Best Water Table for the Whole Gang
Like any prized possession (or shiny new object), a new water table is more than likely going to bring some good old fashioned sibling rivalry along with it. One easy way to cut it off before it even begins? Getting a water table big enough — and with enough super-cool accessories — to go around with room to spare. This Step2 version is always a hit, thanks to a “rain shower” theme (hint: teach ’em how to pour the water onto the top tier and watch it rain down, and watch their eyes get huuuuge), lots of space to gather around and more than 20 accessories to play with from any angle. I’d bet you’ll even find yourself playing with some, like the cute rubber frog, too!
Best Water Table for Play-Based Learning
Play-based learning is such a buzz phrase, isn’t it? And while we’re not entirely sure what it actually means (yes, we get it, kids play and they learn and they play AS they learn, so that’s great, but how does it differ from just… playing? and existing? and taking in the world as they go?), we do know that this table, which teaches lessons like gravity and physics and stuff, is the perfect way to master play-based learning this summer. They play, they learn, they get to splash around and laugh a lot — a recipe for success.
Best Water Table for Sun, Sand + Sea
The good things about the summer sun: Not only can it help boost your good mood vibes (something about science and stuff, it’s proven, promise), but Vitamin D can also help increase your immune system and, of course, your patience, because when your kids run around in the sun, it makes them less of cooped-up animals and more normal, reasonable humans. But, the downside to that very same sun? Too much of it can cause grumpy, tired children (and, of course, too much sun exposure can be harmful to that baby-soft skin). Thanks to this dual-sided table and its adorable attached umbrella, you can have the best of both worlds — lots of rays, and a break from said rays when they need it. Plus, it has a side for water and a side for sand, so it’s basically like your very own beach, without ever leaving home.
Best Water Table for Future Surfers
OK, so your kids know they love the beach, and they love the ocean, but do they know about waves yet? Whether it’s a yes or a no, this table will delight ’em with a built-in “wave maker,” so they can learn all about how waves work. Plus, the rest of the super-cute design looks more like a mini-golf hole than a water table, meaning there are cool elements and secrets to discover so they won’t tire of it quickly. And for you, mama, the neutral color palette won’t burn your eyeballs every time you look out your kitchen window to see it. Proof that we can have ~nice things~ if we try!
And since you can never have too much at-home entertainment (always, but particularly when the temperatures rise), check out more Scary Mommy-approved summer toys!