Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pinterest Things That Even Lazy People Can Do: Water Table

We bought a membership to Longwood Gardens this year, and we've been at least four times already. It's a beautiful place to visit. And it's awesome for kids. Lots of water fountains and kid level water features that they are not only allowed, but ENCOURAGED to touch! There's even a sign by the water play area letting parents know that they will loan you a towel if you came unprepared for this level of awesomeness. (That might not be the exact wording.)

Somehow, I have survived 5 and a half years of parenthood without acquiring a water table. We have tried many lazy versions - dish tub on the floor, shallow basin on the craft table, kiddie pool in the middle of the kitchen - but none of them worked overly well. Watching John Wallace's utter joy as he splashed in the many toddler-level water tables at Longwood Gardens made me think that maybe it was time to find a slightly more permanent solution.

First, I went to Craigslist. But everything I found was selling for way more than I wanted to spend. Then I went to Pinterest, and, while I loved many of the ideas there, and may ultimately attempt some version of a basic PVC frame for a plastic tub, I wanted something quicker, cheaper, easier, and, let's face it, lazier.

So, I went to the hardware store. I bought two Rubbermaid tubs, one shallow, one deep. I stacked them in the store aisle to make sure that they would fit inside of each other.

Then I put some heavy stuff in the bottom of the big one. This is an optional step, but I didn't want my water table to be too top-heavy, or too easy to push off the edge of my porch into the garden. I used about 39 pounds of softener salt (which I only need a small amount of for my dishwasher, but only seems to come in 40 pound bags). I transferred the salt into gallon ziploc bags, so that we wouldn't end up with salt pellets everywhere, in case it did tip over after all.

Now, on to the hard part: Assembly. I'll break it down, step by step, so no one gets lost:

  1. Put some water in the shallower tub. (You only need to fill it about 1/3 of the way.)
  2. Put the shallower tub on top of the deeper tub.
  3. Put some toys or dishes or empty bottles in the water.
  4. Wait 59 more minutes for the child to wake up from their nap.
  5. Take adorable pictures!

This would also make an excellent sensory bin, but I don't recommend putting anything in your sensory bin that you are not prepared to be sweeping up from every corner of the house for the next few weeks. (Our sensory bin experiments ended with rainbow rice.)

And the best part of this water table? When you're done using it as a water table, it goes back to being two, sturdy storage bins. And what Crappy Housewife doesn't need more of those?

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