Kids have been playing in, with, and around water since the dawn of time. It seems to be a natural inclination for little ones to splash and frolic when a little H2O is anywhere near. Parents, however, aren’t always thrilled about the idea. Since a lot of water can pose a safety risk for small children and even a little of the wet stuff can equate to a colossal mess, kids and parents generally disagree about the appeal of water as a plaything at least some of the time. Thankfully, the Step2 Waterwheel Activity Play Table offers a compromise than everyone (well almost everyone) can live with. Safe, sturdy, and elevated enough to ensure your toddler doesn’t end up playing with mud instead of water, the play table features a waterwheel, several accessories, and plenty of opportunity for relatively mess-free and water-based fun.
Fun and Educational Concept
I don’t know of any young child who doesn’t enjoy playing with water, so fun is almost guaranteed with the Step2 Waterwheel Activity Play Table. What I bet you didn’t guess though is that this toy also promises a learning experience or two. Not only does the table engage curiosity and imagination (two key prerequisites for learning and critical thinking), but it also helps little ones understand the concept of cause and effect as they watch the water fall from the wheel and learn to manipulate it on their own as well.
The Waterwheel Activity Play Table comes with lots of features and accessories, making it versatile enough to lend itself to hours of fun without much of a chance for boredom to set in. With molded-in sections for making lakes, canals, moats, and more, your child (with your assistance perhaps) can make a variety of different play settings. In addition, with the 4-piece accessory kit including boats, cups, and of course, the water wheel tower, there are numerous ways for your little one to interact with the play table, creating and engaging in pretend play to his little heart’s content. In addition, its shape and size make it easy for two or even three little ones to play at the table simultaneously. Moreover, you’re certainly not limited to the small accessory kit that comes with the table. You can add just about any plastic toy to the mix to make things even more exciting. With a little imagination and ingenuity (on your part or your child’s), the possibilities really are endless!
Like most all Step2 toys, the Waterwheel Activity Play Table is made of sturdy molded plastic to stand up to even the toughest or most rambunctious kid. At a weight of 10.7 pounds, it’s not likely to get knocked over or blown down by the wind either. Although children (especially small ones) are likely to have a hard time moving the play table, it’s still light enough that a mom can move it around or turn it upside down for cleaning without having to call on someone to help her. Although there have been a few complaints about the durability of the toys that come in the accessory kit, namely the boats, there doesn’t seem to be any question about the sturdiness of the table itself.
Waterwheel Tower Not Attached
Although the table itself is quite sturdy, the waterwheel, which as the name of this toy suggests, is the centerpiece of the table, is not quite so immovable. Since it is not directly attached and does not snap into place, it can be easily knocked over. The constant need for repositioning the waterwheel can be an annoyance for parents who are busy doing something else while allowing their children to entertain themselves. It can also be a bit frustrating for the kids as well.
Doesn’t Include A Cover
Unfortunately, the Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table does not come with a cover, so parents are left to either make their own (i.e. with a tarp or other such material), empty the table and bring it in after every use which can be quite a chore, or allow the table to become filled with debris, bugs, and other undesirable items from being left outside uncovered. If this is a concern for you, you may want to consider another model, but be advised that you will probably pay extra for this added feature.
Enough parents have complained about a leaking drain (even when plugged correctly) that it is reasonable to assume that this is a defect associated with the product line rather than just a fluke. Although many parents don’t mind the leaking since it’s too slow to really reduce the water levels of the table to any significant degree, it is something to consider before purchasing the product.
What Others Are Saying
- Terrific outdoor fun, great price!
- Lots of fun for the price!
- My 18-month old daughter’s favorite thing.
- More fun than you’d think!
- Hours and hours of watery fun!
- Perfect for 1-2 year olds!!!
- Best water activity toy!
- A hit, but problems w/ wheel & tower.
- Nice but not blown away.
- Leaks, leaks, and more leaks!
- Flimsy water tower.
- Not very exciting and it does not have a lid!
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that if you’re looking for an affordable water table that will fulfill your child’s craving for wet and wild fun, then the Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table fits the bill. It’s sturdy, holds a safe level of water, and offers many engaging modes of play for your little one(s). While you can certainly spend more money to get a water table with a cover or a more permanent waterwheel, if your economic sensibilities outweigh your desire for perfection, then this is the table for you. Currently priced at less than $40, the table is far cheaper than many of its competitors, but it does not skimp on the fun factor!