Little people play with beachwater table set-up.

Active Play

DIY Beach Water Table

Aug 14, 2017

The best part about Canadian summers is our beautiful beaches, hands down. We try to go as often as we can while the weather is warm and sunny but sometimes it’s nice to be able to get your “beach fix” even when you’re stuck in the city for the day.

This easy beach water table was a fun project for me and my daughter to set up for our daycare children during nap time and we got hours of play out of it thanks to homemade waterproof sand!

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Having my daughter help set up activities for the younger children in our daycare has been a great way of helping her find connection and purpose with the younger kids and it can be a great tactic to help build empathy in older siblings as they work hard to create something that their little brothers or sisters will enjoy. (Just be careful to manage expectations — little kids will make it messy and they won't always play with it as the "designer" intended.)

Little girl adds water to pool.

You will need to spray the sand with a spray adhesive at least an hour before you make your beach water table. Yup — spray adhesive is the strange “secret ingredient” that turns your sand nearly waterproof. Of course, this water table is fun with plain old regular sand, but you may need to dump it out and change the water a couple times as the sand mixes with the water and turns the water table into a mud pit.

Here's what you'll need:

  • water table
  • spray adhesive
  • sand
  • craft tray or old baking sheet
  • glass gems
  • seashells

Have your kids help you set up the water table — filling up half with the hose or copious amounts of buckets sloshed from one side of the yard to the other. Sprinkle in glass gems, seashells and even mini starfish. These are the same mini starfish we used in one of my favourite kids’ art projects we’ve done to date. I offered plastic fish to my daughter to add to the set-up but she wasn’t interested in having sea life in her beach.

Glass gems, seashells and water.

Let the kids explore with their hands, feeling the rough, dry sand, the cool, wet water, the smooth gems and bumpy seashells. You might be surprised how long this simple set-up entertains them before you feel the need to add sand toys to the mix.

Little hand plays with starfish.

If you don’t have a water table, you could use a plastic tub (like a dish washing bin or storage tote) or go big with a paddling pool version.

Article Author Jennifer Tammy
Jennifer Tammy

Read more from Jennifer here.

Jennifer Tammy is a work-at-home single mom to a five-year-old girl. Half of the week she runs a Montessori preschool program, and the other half she is a freelance recipe developer and food photographer. On her site, Sugar, Spice & Glitter, you will find inspiration to create delicious food, fun crafts and special memories with your family — no matter your circumstances.

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