15 Water Table Ideas for Toddlers

by: Charise Rohm Nulsen
These water table activities will have your little one staying cool outside while both learning and playing throughout the entire summer season.
mom and son playing water table activity

Water tables can be a parent’s new best friend when you’re looking for ways to entertain your toddler this summer. They provide little ones with an opportunity to be outside and stay engaged. They can cool off while also learning and experimenting with tactile play. Water table activities can keep a toddler smiling and focused for hours, and you will probably find that your older children will be drawn to a water table play area just as much as your toddler is.

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Here are 15 water table ideas for toddlers this summer:

1. Bear Soup

Bear Soup offers fun imaginary play for your little ones. Add ladles, spoons, pots, and bowls from your kitchen, and your toddler will be cooking up some fun in no time with a wet and creative twist on playing kitchen.

2. Soapy Sponges

Squeezing big soapy sponges from the dollar store is so fun for a little one. It’s also an excellent activity for building up muscle tone in toddler hands as they work on developing their grip and coordination.

3. Floating Rainbow Balls

Those plastic balls from your ball pit are good for something else! This makes for fun splashing and gripping, and it’s an especially good one for babies who are not even a year old but like to pull themselves up to standing.

4. Scoops and Buckets

Toddlers can pass endless amounts of time when you add shovels, buckets, and anything that can scoop into a water sensory bin!

5. Muddy Trucks and Car Wash

For kids who really need to stay busy, fill a kiddie pool with mud. Let your little one drive her cars and trucks through the mud and then wash them in soapy water in the water table!

6. Ice Table

Instead of filling up the water table with water, try filling it with ice cubes. Your toddler will love the constantly changing play area as the ice cubes begin to slowly melt, and they will especially love making ice cubes “disappear” in their hands.

7. Bubble Foam

You can make this fun and mesmerizing foam for your toddler with just three ingredients: tear-free soap, food dye, and water. You mix it up with a hand mixer, and voila! Your water table will be transformed.

8. Small Worlds

Create small worlds for your toddler to explore in the water table, and you don’t have to just use water. Sand, rocks, cars, shells, uncooked pasta, uncooked beans, and so much more open up a world of exploration.

9. Frozen Pom Poms

This is a great one for developing fine motor skills. Just soak pom poms in water and then freeze them for 10-15 minutes before play time.

10. Ice Boats

Build colorful ice boats with your toddler using an ice cube tray, cut up straws, construction paper, and watercolor paint. Your toddler will love racing these ice boats in the water table after you build them together.

11. Easter Eggs

Plastic Easter eggs make for lots of busy time for toddlers with the opening and closing of eggs and filling them with water!

12. Alphabet Soup

This is an especially exciting learning activity for older toddlers and preschoolers. Little ones can pair upper case and lower case versions of the same letter by picking them out of the water. You can make it even more challenging by asking your kids to use a tweezer to pick up the letters.

13. Toddler Fishing 

Your little one will be squealing with delight as she attempts to catch little animal erasers with a net in the water table.

14. Frozen Legos

Such a fun early STEM activity! And the best part is that there is still hours of fun building time after the frozen Legos melt.

15. Spoon it Out

This activity is also a good one for the bath tub! Collect the round tops from all of the pouches your toddler consumers and add them to your water table. Let your little one spoon them out to collect them into a bowl.

You can’t go wrong with any activity that involves a water table and a toddler! Any of these options will have your little one staying cool outside while both learning and playing throughout the entire summer season.

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