We have been having a ton of fun with our new water sensory table over the course of the past two months! I had been looking around all summer to find a versatile water table that would allow my two-year-old to have fun playing with water as well as a variety of other sensory materials and, after getting some great advice from my fellow members of the Kid Blogger Network, I found it!
My family and I have been so pleased with this water sensory table that I just had to feature it as Mama OT’s Product of the Month. I have not been compensated at all for this post — I truly believe this is a great product and want to let you know about it. Some links below are my referral links, which means if you click over and wind up making a purchase, you will get a great product and Mama OT will receive a small commission to help keep this blog running, at no extra cost to you (thank you!). Read my full disclosure here.
After much searching, the water table we decided on was the Step 2 Splash N Scoop Bay. It is marketed as being made for water and sand play, but you can do SO much more with it than that! The Step 2 Splash N Scoop Bay is divided into two separate sides for play (one for water and one for sand), plus it comes with a water tower with slides and spinner, small cup with handle for scooping and pouring, large shark scooper for water or sand play, two-sided shovel/rake, and plastic cover that fits either side of the table or can be incorporated into water play as a tall mountain/waterfall when combined with the water tower.
If I could improve one thing about this water table, it would be to provide two covers (one for each side) as opposed to only one. This would make it easier to use and would minimize clean up time at the end of the day for those of us who want or need to keep the table outside overnight. However, I really appreciate the fact that the cover that comes with this table can be incorporated into water play, is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and doesn’t have any clamps or brackets that might pinch little fingers.
Water tables such as the Splash N Scoop Bay are great because they:
- give kids a chance to engage in outdoor water play, even when they don’t have access to a pool, grass, or much outdoor space in general
- are easier to supervise than kiddie pools, use less water, make it easy to fill with warmer water for sensitive hands, and pose a significantly smaller risk of water-related injuries or fatalities (but you still need to supervise because it is possible for children to drown in even two inches of water)
- provide children the opportunity to develop their play and social skills ( such as parallel play, cooperative play, communication skills, and sharing) as they stand around the table and play near or with each other
- challenge children’s functional balance as they play while standing, leaning, reaching, and shifting their weight
- challenge children’s trunk, arm, hand strength, and grasping skills as they reach, scoop, pour, and dump with a variety of tools (one glance in your kitchen cupboards will give you plenty of new containers and scoopers for play!)
- provide children the perfect container for playing with and exploring new sensory materials, particularly if you are short on outdoor space or don’t especially like bringing messy play inside the house
- are extremely versatile and can be used in so many ways other than just playing with sand and water!
The possibilities for playing with a water sensory table are virtually endless!
Owning this particular water table has provided me the space, opportunity, and motivation to explore lots of new types of sensory play with my two-year-old. I have loved it because it has given me the chance to try out sensory materials and recipes for the benefit of both my son (the “mama” side of me) and the kiddos I work with in my occupational therapy treatment (the “OT” side of me).
So how have we played with our water sensory table?
Here are 10 fun ways you can play with the Step 2 Splash N Scoop Bay for some sensory and motor fun!
1. Water only: This has made the summer days of 100+ degrees slightly more bearable. My toddler has been known to spend up to an hour straight playing with his water-only water table (which is FOREVER in toddler time) and he tends to ask for it several times a day. Sometimes it’s even the first thing he asks for when he wakes up in the morning, even if it’s cold outside. Lifting and pouring the big bucket full of water is great heavy work for the kiddo who seeks or needs lots of proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints. Water-only is probably his favorite way to use the table because the kid just can’t get enough water play!
2. Sand only: Play sand is super cheap; it can be purchased at most home improvement stores (such as Home Depot) for less than five bucks for a 50-pound bag. We’ve been having fun using our upcycled milk jugs that were originally used for play time in the bath (read more here) — talk about an upper body workout!
3. Water and sand: I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first when I saw that the model children on the cover of the box were playing nicely with their water sensory table as they kept their water and sand separate. There’s no way that would happen in real life! I thought to myself. And it didn’t. What do you think the first thing my two-year-old did was when he saw that the water and sand were on separate sides? Poured the water into the sand, of course! I was totally fine with it because I knew it was going to happen, plus it gave him the chance to play with wet sand, which is something I don’t think he’s ever done before. The slightly damp sand was great for building, and the sand soup made for quite the interesting messy play experience! The sand dried out after a few days of use and went back to its normal, pre-water state.
4. Colored rice: We have been experimenting with different recipes ever since we learned 50 fun ways to play with rice. Whenever rice is in the table, he wants to play with it. Score!
5. Dry beans and noodles: This combination of textures makes a unique sound when poured and played with.
6. Soapy Water: The bubbles re-grow every time the water is poured and played with. Literally a recipe for some good, clean fun!
7. Shaving cream: By keeping some water on the other side, he could touch the cream on one side, rinse his hands off in the water on the other side, and then keep playing as much as he felt comfortable.
8. Shaving cream mixed with water: Much like the sand, the shaving cream didn’t last long on its own! The creamy water made for a nice texture and unique arctic look.
9. Slimy colored spaghetti: Slimy goodness! This sensory table contained the mess quite nicely. Click here to learn how to make it.
10. Goop/Oobleck: It’s just a half-and-half mixture of cornstarch and water. It hardens when you touch it and “melts” back to a liquidy texture when you leave it alone. Keep it plain or spice it up with colors or scents, like this amazing batch of Pumpkin Spice Latte Oobleck! This table makes it so easy to play with this super messy substance without getting everything else around you messy.
However you choose to engage your little one in sensory play, I hope you have a fun, messy time!