Water tables can offer hours of sensory fun for toddlers and preschoolers - and there's so much you can put in them besides just water, too! They are, of course, especially great for splashing and outdoor water play during the warm summer months, but there are also plenty of indoor water table ideas to make them a fun at home toddler activity all year round!

What items have you put in your water table, or what activities have you made up for your little ones, for creative water table and sensory play?

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  •   -   05/25/2021

    Measuring cups of different sizes and shapes create ceaseless fun pouring and dumping; dumping and pouring for hours.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Add plastic/foam letters or numbers to the water and have kids “fish” them with a toy fishing rod, large spoon or spatula. If they are ready, you can have them fish for particular letters or numbers to help reinforce alphabet/number recognition.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Frozen toys. Take small toys that will fit in an ice cube tray, fill it with water and freeze. Add these ice cube treasures to the water table for kids to uncover. They can use a spray bottle or dropper filled with water, dunk them or pour water all over them for the big reveal!

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Play Sink or Float. This simple toddler science experiment is a favorite at our house! Collect items that can safely get wet (utensils, plastic toys, fruit, rocks, etc.), then take turns placing them in the water table to see if they will sink or float.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Crinkly paper, like from your shredder or for packaging. If you have enough, you can hide toys in the water table for your toddler to find. It’s also fun for playing with mini trucks.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Regular sand, with small beach toys like molds, shovels, and smaller watering cans or buckets. Best done outside, and somewhere you won’t mind getting sand EVERYWHERE.

  •   -   05/25/2021

    Sponges & Spray Bottles. The simple things in life seem to bring the most joy. Colorful, inexpensive sponges inspire pretend and sensory while the squeezing of both sponges and spray bottles encourage hand motor skills/control.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Easy DIY craft boats. We’ve made easy paper origami boats and rafts from popsicle sticks taped together to float (and sometimes race!) in our water table when it’s filled with water.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Wash toys. My little kids love to help "wash" our dishes, and while I appreciate the enthusiasm the gigantic mess they make is not my favorite. Give your little one a sponge or brush and water-friendly toys (plastic food, play dishes, matchbox cars, Legos, etc) and have them wash their toys in the water table!

  •   -   05/25/2021

    Robo Alive Fish. These life like “robot” fish swim and dive when submerged in water. Turn your water table, bathtub, or pool into an artificial aquarium. These fish are mesmerizing and fun for young and older children.

    •   -   05/25/2021

      Whoa, I’ve never heard of these, but they sound awesome. Will be checking them out for sure, thank you for the recommendation!

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Water beads. Fill as much or as little of the table as you want with these squishy sensory beads! Try growing a few giant water beads, too, just for fun.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Kinetic sand. This is a great option for indoor play, as it holds together fairly well to help minimize mess potential. My toddler LOVES playing with mini trucks to scoop, dig, and move his kinetic sand around.

  •   -   05/21/2021

    Dried beans, rice or pasta. Add funnels, bowls, cups and spoons for lots of scooping and pouring fun!

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