Six Unique Ways to Use Play Water Tables Without Water

kids water table uses

Kids’ play water tables are fun sensory play during the hot summer months. However, when the weather turns cool, that does not mean the water tables should be banished to the basement or shelved in storage. Rather, there are other unique ways to use kids’ play water tables…without water.

Using water tables as indoor play not only makes fiscal sense (using a toy in more ways than one) but it is also great for toddler development to be able to play in a variety of ways – using a variety of elements. It is also great fiscal sense when you can use the toys even beyond their age. Keep reading to see what I mean!

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Best Water Tables

Some of my favorite water tables are from STEP2 and MGA Little Tikes. I love this Little Tikes Magic Flower one with its three tiers.

kids water table MGA

I also like this Rain Showers and Unicorns Table from STEP2 with its long trough for multiple play.

kids water table STEP2

Alternative Uses for Water Tables

Once you are ready to use the water tables without water, here are six ways to reuse and repurpose the table for non-water play, indoor play, or when kids have outgrown the water table!


Sensory Sand Castles

Pour play sand into the water table and add mini construction vehicles, mini spatulas, small measuring cups, or paper cups for a fun way to create a working construction site to build mini-sand castles, pave sand roads, and knock it all down!

ImageParty from Pixabay

Dried Rice Discovery

Instead of play sand, pour dried rice into the water table. Hide mini items for kids to have to dig out. Give them a plastic spoon to see what they can find. You can find dried rice in bulk at large warehouse stores, and even on Amazon.


Mini Ball Marvelousness

You can find mini plastic balls, even ones with textures. Fill the water table with these pint-size toys and let kids have a ball pit for their hands!

Sensory Slippery Slime

Whether Halloween or any day in between, fill the water table with slime! Put in plastic spiders and other creepy things for things to have to find with their hands! Cra-Z-Art makes tubs of slime, or you can DIY your own! Another fun alternative is to use Orbeez!


Herb Garden Growth

Grab small herb plants – either from the local home improvement store or start the seeds from scratch. It makes for a fun ‘potting table” too! Place the various herbs on the table. Then have the kids water their garden each day and watch the plants grow. Use the herbs in recipes so kids learn the farm to table concept too.

Water Table Play

Grownup Decor

Once kids have outgrown their water table, there are other uses.

  • First, consider spray painting the table all black, gold, etc – so it is less toddler and more designer. Then use it as a fun Halloween candy ‘bowl’ for trick or treaters. Or place fun Halloween decor on it for a spooky display!
  • Place your own herbs and plants on it for a fun, elevated display in the summer on a patio.
  • Use it as a watering hole for your Christmas decoration reindeer!
  • Use it as a birdbath in the summer, or as an outdoor dog washing station for your toy poodle!

Have fun with it and think outside the box table!

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