After our in-depth review of 10 different products, we decided the best sand and water tables for toddlers and kids was the Step 2 Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table.
I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love playing in a sandbox, and this is no exception for my three kids. They absolutely love the outdoors, but when we moved farther north, we ran into a hiccup; it gets too cold for sandboxes in the winter! I didn’t want my kids to have to give up their favorite activity altogether, so I searched online forums and parenting sites to find an answer until I finally found the solution.
Sand and water tables are an amazing alternative to an outdoor sandbox. It can be used inside, so the weather won’t affect your kid’s ability to play to their heart’s content!
But choosing between all the options isn’t always a walk in the park. There are a few things every parent needs to think about before deciding on the best kids water table.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here are our Top Picks:
- 2 What are the advantages/benefits of a sand/water table?
- 3 Things to consider when buying the best water table or sand table
- 4 What to look for while shopping for water tables and sand tables
- 5 The Best Water Tables
- 6 The Best Sand Tables
- 7 Conclusion
In a Hurry? Here are our Top Picks:
What are the advantages/benefits of a sand/water table?
Sandboxes have become controversial these days due to their difficulty to keep clean and safe for children’s use. The sandbox is almost like a natural environment, as it simulates dirt. Animals and bugs can find their way in, making it unsafe for your child to play in.
By purchasing a sand/water table, you provide a similar outdoor play experience, but indoors or under cover, rather than outdoors. The negative aspect of having it outdoors is that something could happen to the sand/water, such as mosquitos or wild animals who may use the sandbox as a restroom.
Another potential risk with outdoor sand/water boxes is mold and bacteria. When the sand becomes wet, there is a chance that it could grow certain bacterias that could be harmful to your child. By moving the sand indoors, or taking extra outdoor precautions by purchasing a table with a lid, you can mitigate or remove the chance of bacteria growing on the surface.
Things to consider when buying the best water table or sand table
When buying a water or sand table, it’s important to keep in mind WHO you’re buying it for, and WHERE you’re putting it, so you can get the best water table or sand table for your money.
The age of your child is something that will be important in determining what sand/water table is right for your home. Toddlers will need a shorter, more friendly table for their size, while a seven or eight year old will have little trouble with any of the options listed, but will more than likely not want something that is toddler-sized.
Each sand and water table that is reviewed here is a variety, ranging from toddler to ten years of age. Be sure to pay attention to the heights and sizes of your water/sand table to be sure it fits with your child’s needs.
Another thing to keep in mind is where the table will be located in or around your home. If outdoors, the table will need to have a cover of some sort to prevent wildlife and insects from infiltrating your child’s play table. Without this cover, the table will be a feeding ground for bacteria or insects, which is never wanted for anything your child will be playing in.
If you plan to put it indoors, the size of the table will come into play once more, as a larger table may not be able to fit inside certain rooms. It is also important to be aware of the ground where the table will be. If you don’t want water or sand on your nice, clean floors, finding one that fits in the bathtub might be your best option.
What to look for while shopping for water tables and sand tables
The most important things to look out for in a sand or water table may not be as obvious as you’d think.
Versatility, for example, is important when choosing a table. A table that offers both a sand and a water side will be a better option for a child who is interested in building sandcastles, for example, because water can easily be added to the sand side for this very purpose.
As mentioned before, the size of your sand/water table will be one of the most important things to keep in mind. Children come in all shapes and sizes, as do water and sand tables. You want to be sure you’re choosing a table that suits your child’s needs and personality, but you also want to be sure they are able to reach it! All sand and water tables have their dimensions listed. If you don’t see any dimensions, I wouldn’t suggest buying that table.
As every parent knows, kids are extremely hard on their toys. The durability of the sand or water table is incredibly important when deciding which one to purchase. Most are made from plastic, which can be durable enough to stand a child’s abuse to it, but some of the more cheaply made tables may give in to your child’s roughhousing. This is not only a disappointment to the child, but it can also become dangerous, as broken plastic can be very sharp. To avoid any accidents, be sure to check and research the material of the sand or water table to be sure it won’t break under your child’s hands.
Accessories for a sand or water table are almost like tools. There is nothing worse than opening a toy and not being able to play with it because you don’t have the right tools to make it fun!
Most sand and water tables come with little accessories, but it’s a good idea to pay attention to what type of accessories. Some might provide little shovels and buckets, while some may have water toys that can swim or float. These accessories are important because they are what the child will actually be playing with, not the water or sand itself.
The Best Water Tables
Step2’s Rain Showers water table is the best water table for toddlers who are learning motor skills, as well as the concept of cause-and-effect. Not only that but younger kids who enjoy water parks will absolutely adore this table.A small bucket is provided with the table to allow kids to fill the top arch with water, creating a small rain-like waterfall that sounds like real raindrops falling into the water below. With moving puzzle-like pieces, shaped like animals and plants, that can be arranged in various ways around the waterfall arch, this brightly-colored table gives toddlers a chance to be creative by changing the flow of the waterfall as they play.
None of the pieces are small enough to be harmful to toddlers, making this table one of the safest options for younger kids. It’s almost like having a water park in your very own home!
- This water table has a no-leak drainage plug.
- The table is small enough to fit in a normal-sized bathtub.
- The table is made of a sturdy enough plastic that it can support the weight of an adventurous child who may attempt to climb into it.
- This set has many moveable and removable pieces, meaning pieces can be removed and lost if misplaced.
- Child must be at least 34″ tall to be able to reach the waterfall portion of this table.
The Cascading Cove is a versatile table that can be used for either indoor or outdoor playtime. This incredible play set has the best of both worlds, as it offers both a water side AND a sand side, making it double the fun! Roadways have been molded into the top to allow extra playing surface, as well as to separate the two sides of the table.Both sides are large enough for extensive play, and the two can be mixed to make sand wet enough for sand castle production. This table is great for imaginative children, as they will love pretending they are on both land and sea. When using the table outdoors, there is a handy umbrella that can be attached to the table to protect the kiddos from being exposed to the harsh sun, and also keep them cool on hot summer days. If your child changes their favorite type of play on a whim, this table might be the one for you.
- This table comes with what is called “storage mode.” A plastic table cover can be used over the play area, equipped with elastic bands to hold it down. This cover is easy enough that children can use it by themselves.
- Accessories that come with the set include small boats that can be used on either side, as well as shovels and bridges.
- Includes a no-leak drain for easy removal of water.
- The hole for the umbrella is a tight squeeze, making it difficult to add or remove it.
- Holes to fit the legs are not large enough, meaning a drill is necessary for putting this table together.
Why not take two toddler toys and mash them into one? That’s exactly what Step2 has done with their All Around Playtime Canopy House. With both the charm of a toy kitchen set and a sand/water table, this table will have your kid playing pretend chef in no time!A canopy is placed over the top of a cube-like table that has three counters and a set of double doors for entrance. The water side of the table mimics that of a sink, complete with swivel “faucet” that can be filled with water for that feeling of realistic running water. Directly beside the “sink,” there is a small sandbox that includes a shovel. Surrounding those two aspects are tons of accessories and fun little objects that make this table feel more like an entire playhouse than just a table. This table is great for teaching kids the responsibilities of the kitchen in a fun, creative way.
- Comes with other accessories such as a grill set, fake food, and a table cover to keep the sand and water safe from their environment.
- A separate “kids snack table” is included in this set for no additional cost.
- This set includes a sturdy canopy to keep kids safe from the sun and to keep them cool during the hot summer months.
- This table is considered a “playhouse” because of its size. This is meant for outdoors but can be placed in the house in a larger playroom.
- The sink does not have a drain plug, making it difficult to remove the water.
- Water and sand table aspect is rather small compared to other features.
We’ve got another double-trouble table! Step2’s Naturally Playful Sand and Water table gives your kids the opportunity to play with both sides. This easy to assemble table will have your kids playing all day long.The water side features a complex series of roadways to transform the water table into a river, while the sand side comes with little bucket and shovel accessories to add to the fun. Similar to other duo-sand and water tables, this table can be placed indoors or outdoors, and it comes with an added umbrella to keep the sun away from the children when used outdoors.
When finished with play, this table comes with a large, one piece lid that can be placed over both sides and secured with elastic cords to prevent any unwanted critters from getting into the play table. For parents that have more than two kids, this larger table might be the answer to getting all of your kids to have fun at the same time.
- Water side has a no-leak drainage plug.
- Table has a faux-wood finish on the side of the plastic, adding a bit of realism to match outdoor and indoor furniture.
- Large table can accommodate many children at once.
- Due to roadways built in, the water side is far smaller than the sand side.
- This water table is LARGE, making it difficult to fit inside or into a bathtub.
This water table is like bringing your kids their very own waterpark! Little Tikes has created small characters that can float, roll around, and squirt water, making for a fun, interactive experience.Kids will love playing with the water tunnel in the center, and they can place their small characters into the tunnel to watch them spin around and around until they hit that water basin at the bottom. If they want some water action, they can take the small bucket accessory and fill the tunnel with water to make the interactive Ferris wheel move all on its own! The characters fit right into the wheel, so your little ones can have a blast making them spin and play in the water.
This water table features a circular shape and has three large plastic legs to hold it up. This one is potentially the best water table for toddlers.
- Small enough to place indoors, and large enough to be sturdy outdoors.
- Lots of interactive, moving parts that will keep your child entertained.
- Great for toddlers! It helps to develop motor skills and develops their imaginations.
- Circular shape may be hard to fit into a bathtub, so indoor play will need to be strategic.
- Small characters are just that; small. They can be easily thrown and lost.
The Best Sand Tables
Simple, easy to put together, and just plain fun. This is the perfect sand table for those who want something similar to a sandbox. The table is tall enough to prevent the box from reaching the ground but is still at the perfect height for toddlers to dig into.The accessories that come with this sand table include two sand rakes, two little shovels, and a bucket, which is the perfect combinations for your little ones to build some sand castles. Step2’s Naturally Playful Sand Table also comes with a lid that can cover the entire table, to prevent anything from getting into the sand that otherwise shouldn’t.
As an added bonus, Step2 has molded roadways into the lid of the box, making a brand new play surface for when your little ones get bored with the sand! The plastic legs of the table are able to hold up an impressive 40 lbs of sand; that’s 40 lbs of fun for your kids!
- Table is incredibly sturdy, so if a child were to climb into it, it would hold.
- A few children could play in this table at once with minimal trouble.
- Lid provides an extra play surface when the sand table is not in use.
- This table doesn’t come with many accessories, so more may potentially need to be purchased.
- Lid is not air-tight, meaning water during a rainy season can get inside.
This table has one of the most adorable designs of all the tables on this list! The Crabbie Sand Table is shaped just like a crab, complete with shovel holders that look like the crab’s claws. The friendly crab’s eyes will have your children wanting to play in the sand that fills the basin that can hold up to 25 lbs of sand. But if you’re not too keen on using sand in this table, you can use other types of material, such as gravel, kinetic sand, or even water! Just be aware that there is no drainage plug if you decide to fill this little guy with water.Four accessories come with this table, including two tables and two buckets. When sand play is finished, the lid that is placed back on top of the table simulates the top part of a crab’s shell.
- Cute design that is great for kids to make them feel welcome to play.
- Table is the perfect height for toddlers, making this an excellent sand table choice.
- Assembly and installation is extremely easy.
- Only comes with four accessories, which is not a ton in the case of sand play.
- Holds a smaller amount of sand, due to the design of the table.
Step2’s Play Store Sandbox is unique to this category, as it’s more of a box than a table. This box is marketed to be put outdoors, but it is actually useful indoors as well! When put into a playroom, putting a tarp down under it will prevent any sand spillage onto the floors.
Aside from placement, this box is fantastic! It features four seats in the corners of the molding for children to sit as they play, making it perfect for play dates or a few of your children to play at once. This box comes with a lid/cover that is held on by elastic bands, and the box itself can hold up to 200 lbs of sand! If you’re looking for the most amount of sand held, this box might be for you.
- There is no assembly required for this box! The only thing necessary for you is to provide the sand for play.
- Can be used for either outdoor or indoor sand play.
- Has a lid to prevent unwanted materials from getting into the sand. The lid is also domed, meaning toys can be stored in the box as well.
- Is not technically a table, and must sit on the ground to function.
- The cover is not air-tight, meaning water can get in when there is hard rain or harsh winter weather.
Little Tikes offers another unique product to our list, as this one is another box. This sandbox is called a turtle for a reason; that’s exactly what it’s shaped like! The legs of the turtle feature molded seats for your kids to sit on as they play in the rounded sandbox.A little face peeks out from the front, welcoming kids to come play in the sand. If feeling even more adventurous, this turtle box could be emptied of sand and filled with water instead to make a fun pool for your toddlers in the summertime! Unfortunately, this product does not come with accessories, so they will need to be purchased separately if you’d like your little ones to play with anything but their hands.
- Cute design to welcome kids into playing in the sandbox.
- Lid is shaped like a turtle shell, and will help to keep out any unwanted things from the sand or water inside.
- The round portion that holds sand is a bit small, meaning only one or two children could fit inside to play at once.
- The plastic used to make this is known to warp in extreme heat. Use caution if placing this sandbox outside.
Back to simple, clean, and fun! This sand table is very patriotic, featuring a blue table to hold up to 50 lbs of sand, and red legs to hold it up. This table is longer than it is wide, so it is capable of fitting in tight spaces for easy storage, as well as in bathtubs for easy cleanup when used indoors. With easy assembly, you’ll have your kiddos enjoying themselves in no time.Using a sand table like this is an easy way to bring the beach to your home, and let kids get creative with building sand castles and sand molds. While this table does not come with a standard “lid,” it does come with a sturdy tarp. The tarp is most certainly not airtight, but it does cover the table to prevent water damage to the sand. If using this table, I would recommend it be indoors.
- This table is the perfect height for toddlers, as it is not too tall.
- Can hold just the right amount of sand, making it not too heavy for most adults to move around.
- Sand can be removed to replace with water, or to use as a regular toddler’s table.
- In some cases during extreme heat or cold, the legs of the table can become flimsy or damaged. Be wary of this if used outdoors.
- While the tarp is useful, it’s always better to have a hard-surfaced lid to prevent anything from slipping under the tarp.
As far as the best kids water table goes, I’d have to give it to Step2’s Cascading Cove Sand and Water Table. My kids can get bored with doing one thing over and over again, so it’s great to have the best of both worlds! Sand and water on both sides help them choose what they’re in the mood or that day, which I love. Not only that, but this table can be used indoors, which is excellent for when it’s winter or the weather isn’t cooperative for my kid’s playtime!
Overall, the best table for your kid is going to be the one they can use and enjoy. It’s different for everybody since no kid is alike. But I would recommend any of these water or sand tables on the list for some good, wholesome fun. Just remember to keep your kid in mind when buying one, and have a great time with them!