If you’ve got a toddler, buying a sand and water table is one of the best investments that you’ll make. Great for outdoor play, they keep toddlers busy for hours.
But, which is the best sand and water table in 2016? There are a number on the market and they range in price from about $50 to well over $200. Based on price, quality of construction, aesthetics, and ease of use, I’ve found from the children’s water table reviews that the Naturally Playful Sand and Water Activity Center by Step 2 to be the best for toddlers on the market.
First, I love the fact that it comes with an umbrella. We live in Hawaii where the sun is extremely hot and we don’t have a lot of covered porch (or lanai, as we call it here) area at our home. The umbrella does a pretty good job of keeping the kids out of full sun while they play.
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This sand and water table for 3 year old is made of hard plastic, but I like that it looks like wood – at least from a distance. There’s something about a yard full of multi-colored plastic toys that just irritates me and I get really sick of dragging toys in and out of the garage all the time. The natural color of this toy is really appealing to me. I’d probably bring it back inside if company came over, but it’s find to leave out for day-to-day play.
Another reason I’m choosing the Step 2 as the Best Sand and Water Table is the fact that it has a cover that actually fits AND a drain that works really well, which makes cleaning a breeze.
Here’s the only catch – kids WILL mix the sand with the water, they just will. If you want your child to play in sand and water separately, consider purchasing a small pool and a sandbox, because they’re going to dump water into the sand, it’s just what kids do. You only need a 40 lb. bag of sand to fill the sand half of the toy and it does dry. However, it’s also relatively cheap and easy to replace.
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Another real benefit to this 5 year old toy is that it’s large enough for multiple kids to play at one time, but not so large that it couldn’t be used inside. If you want to use it inside, it’s advisable to use on hard floors that can get wet and sandy. It’s probably also smart to only allow kids that are a little older to use it inside. A two-year old playing with this sand and water table is bound to make a BIG mess, but 4 and 5-year olds might be okay.
One last note – Step 2 says that this toy is good for kids betwen 2 – 5 years of age. I beg to differ. My daughter loved playing with her older sisters sand and water table when she was just over a year. It was sturdy enough to help her stand and she played for a long time. Younger kids need a little more supervision to make sure that they don’t eat handfuls of sand, but it can be used for younger children. Also, my kids are now 5 and 8 and they still both play with their table. It’s not quite as exciting for them as it used to be, but they do play with it enough to make it worth my while to keep it around.
Overall, Step 2 has the best water table on the market. The price is right, it’s well-made and it provides hours and hours of entertainment for little ones.