For my sons first birthday I made him this water table. He loved playing in the sink and bathtub. The hot summer made this idea come easy. It was inspired by an exhibit I saw at the Connecticut Science Center called KidSpace, which was filled with hands-on water activities.
Some of the design goals for this project included:
- Use of only off-the-shelf parts. Mostly because I got the idea for it a day or two before the party, online ordering of parts would take too long.
- Minimal budget. I couldn’t spend too much on experimenting with different designs and prototypes.
- It couldn’t waste water. I didn’t want it to just be a sprinkler head that attached to the hose and sprayed water on the ground.
With these in mind, the first prototype design came pretty easily as I walked through the home-improvement store.
Here is a link to the Instructable, a tutorial for building one yourself.
It’s really pretty simple: a plastic storage bin made a perfect vessel. The lid had a great texture that drained the water perfectly after I drilled holes through it. A small statuary pump sends the water from in the bin, up the plastic plumbing and out the various sprayers. The pump plugs into a extension cord that is plugged into a GFI outlet for safety. We are sure to supervise the kids when they play with it too.
I was quite surprised to receive an email one day saying I had won a vacation with my Water Table Instructable. I had actually for gotten that I had entered it into the contest. It proved to be a very encouraging moment that inspired me to keep making stuff.
The prototype has been such a hit with my boy and his cousins, not to mention the encouraging comments on the Instructable, I’ve been exploring some ideas to improve the design and make up a few more iterations. I like the idea of making the plumbing structure more stable so it can withstand some rough play, like in the above picture. I’m also considering adding some more interesting features on the surface of the lid.
Feel free to comment with any ideas for improvement.