Sand and water table for toddler

Water table
Splishy splashy fun

I recently made a water table for my son. The plastic container that goes in it is a storage container that rolls under a bed. I got two bins so I could put sand in one and switch it out for the empty one to use for water or other messy things (cornflour goop etc.). They came with lids which has been really useful for covering up the sand.

Sand table
As a sand table it has been used almost daily

At first I put quite a bit of sand in so the sand one was too heavy to lift by myself. That was very annoying and I started to wish I’d just stuck to the original water table plan. But after some sand got tipped out it was easier to switch them around. And I found it was used much more with the sand tub than it was as a water table. The plan is to build a proper sand pit but that hasn’t happened yet so this has been great to have in the meantime.

I bought the plastic tubs first so I could base the dimensions around it. The one I had seen that I was copying the idea from had the lip of the container fit perfectly into the frame so that was what was taking all the weight. I don’t have much woodwork experience so I didn’t trust myself to get the measurements perfect enough for that. So for my one the weight is all taken by the supports that are underneath the tub. I put four of them in.

Water table frame
Water table frame

I used untreated wood that I painted. I started it when my son still chewed everything so untreated wood seemed the safest option even though I knew it would be getting wet. I usually put a tarp over it when it isn’t in use so it’s been lasting well. I wasn’t sure what height to go with so I designed the legs with the intention that I could attach a piece of wood to the inside of those corners later on if it needed to grow taller. I ended up going with the frame being 40cm high and the overall height with the tub inside it being 46cm. It’s been in use for about 8 months now and has been a good height so far.

I didn’t round every single corner and edge, just the outer ones that seemed like they could be dangerous. I drew them on first and then sanded back to the pencil line. I used an electric sander for the main part and then smoothed it off with a sanding sponge. I’d never used a sanding sponge before and I found it amazing for getting a nice rounded shape. Sanding blocks always gave a faceted look when I tried them but the sponge shapes itself to what you’re doing. As you can probably tell I really like sanding sponges now.

Water table frame
Water table frame before sanding, the pencil marks where to sand to
Water table frame
Water table frame with one sanded corner

I painted it with child safe acrylic paint. I found I really liked the look of the bare wood so contemplated finishing it with a varnish or oil but I figured it was going to get splashed with food colouring and paint so would probably stain less if it was painted.

The paint was rubbing off onto the deck when I moved it around so I bought some plastic furniture sliders to hammer into the bottom and they’ve made it heaps easier to move around.

Water table feet
Furniture sliders added to the feet to stop the paint marking the deck

Future plans are to make a table top to attach to it, I even have the piece of plywood for it but it hasn’t happened yet.