Water Table, for the Kids

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Picture of Water Table, for the Kids
I decided to make a fun water table for my son’s first birthday. He loves water in the sink and the bathtub so instead of getting a boring old tiny pool, I went this route. I wanted fountains and sprayers and a self contained reservoir and pump so it wouldn’t need to be attached to the hose. I got all the goods at a local home-improvement store and got it together in about 2 hours.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Materials needed:
a plastic storage bin with a cool lid (I got a couple of these in a two-pack)
a 330 gph statuary pump (in the garden pond section)
3/4” x 5’ polyethylene plastic water pipe (the price tag said “3/4” x5’ NSF PE 160PSI STICK (PEP)”)
3/4” insert plug (in the same section as the pipe above)
3/4” 90D elbow insert
3/4” tee insert
3/4” ID vinyl tube (I got a 10’ piece)

and a few simple tools:
a hand saw
a power drill
various drill bits, one a bit bigger than the outer diameter of the pipe and a few smaller ones
a utility knife (or something else to cut the vinyl tubing)

Step 2: Drill some drainage holes

Start by drilling drainage holes on the lid of the bin so that any water squirted out of the fountains will not pool on top but drain back into the reservoir. On this cool lid, I put about a 3/8” hole at every intersection of the molded texture, which happens to be the lowest point on the lid.

Step 3: Plumbing Structure

Next cut some 2” lengths of black pipe with your hand saw (or a power miter box saw) and assemble the three tee inserts and four 90D elbow inserts into the main plumbing structure.

I found that it took a bit of force to get the pipe onto the inserts. What helped was soaking the black pipe pieces in really hot water for 30 seconds right before putting them on the inserts. It helps to have a plan of action and a big bowl of hot water.
KevinOKane7 months ago
I still had trouble getting the inserts through the black pipe, even after soaking in water. Either the temperature was too hot (so pipe didn’t shrink back to original size) or not hot enough. I just couldn’t get the balance right. I’m wondering if it would be ok to hammer the pieces together (using a rubber mallet of course)?
theerikjohnson (author)  KevinOKane7 months ago
try it. a rubber mallet and a semi-soft surface might be just what you need. Maybe check the inner rim of the pipe sections for big burs and file or carve them off. Good luck.
jordanguy12311 months ago
what you talkin bout im maing one for meh
phinch1 year ago
Thanks for the inspiration. I built a similar table for my almost two year old using yours as a guide.
I added a shallower tub to the top with a standpipe so that the she could splash in a few inches of water. The fountain pump feeds a slip fit pvc pipe fitting, so she (or I) can reconfigure the fountain.

today we added dish soap, that was fun.
theerikjohnson (author)  phinch1 year ago
Great. I like your modifications. Did the soap affect the pump's performance at all?
i didn't notice any difference. It's a good idea to fill the reservoir with as much water as it will hold, because the foam will eat up a lot of the water. my pump almost ran dry. I wasn't too worried, because I've accidentally ran my pump for days at a time dry when it used to be a garden pump.

Today, I added an umbrella for shade.
Broom1 year ago
Needs a video!
theerikjohnson (author) 2 years ago
Thank you all for your kind words. Stand by for Water Table 2.0.
It's getting warm out again.. before I go and attempt version 1.0, what's in store for version 2.0? Worth waiting, or just make both!?
oworks2 years ago
I made it for my 1 year old son. He loves it. Thanks for the instructable.
I use bath water pump (KP-103) in japan.
canida2 years ago
This is awesome!
Very COOL! Me-ma will be the greatest grandma ever when I get this made for my crumbsnatchers! Along with a water balloon fight what could be more fun! Another simple water toy we enjoy in the backyard is dishsoap bottles...even the littlest ones can squeeze softer bottles and soak Me-ma and sibs!
jameskoontz2 years ago
Made it and love it. No extension cords in use, and bought a portable gfci outlet adapter for extra safety.
Excellent idea, and good work winning the contest!
bajablue2 years ago
BIG CONGRATS on a fantastic winning project!!!
ehudwill2 years ago
My youngest daughter would love this. I had an idea to make something like this but I never conceived of it in a bin. Great job.
bonnie132 years ago
theerikjohnson (author)  bonnie132 years ago
My son has not been harmed using this toy. It probably has something to do with the fact that I supervise him while he is using this.

This toy is dangerous if you expect it to babysit while you watch TV. But if you will be diligent in your supervision and use common sense, then it's perfectly safe.

Neuronscream makes some great suggestions if you're nervous about this.
This is really cool! My 1 year old nephew would love this! :-)
zyonchaos2 years ago
Love this, now to scam money for parts the nipper will love this

Great work
I'm gonna give it a ruggy will love this...
This is a wonderful idea for a hot summer!

I would caution though that AC power and wet children are a bad combination. I would suggest adding an extension cord to the project which is positively locked so it can not be undone either by tripping over it or a curious kinder. The best protection would be to place the pump plug end and the extension cord end into a small IP65 box. And then make sure the whole thing is plugged into a GFCI power outlet that you have tested. Never assume the GFCI outlet is working especially if it is outdoors, rain and cold take their toll pretty quickly on them. But if you test and it trips and resets correctly, you will be okay.

Mrballeng2 years ago
Send me a postcard from Florda. Good Work.
l8nite2 years ago
I think my Gbrats are going to go nuts over this ! Great idea and well laid out "ible"
DanteDante2 years ago
This IS brilliant, and soon it will adorn my patio as well.
Great work!
This is freaking brilliant. My daughter loves playing in water, but we don't have any real toys she can play with. Definitely turning this into a weekend project. Thank you for posting. Awesome ible.
skiedra2 years ago
Great idea! :) Thanks for the instructable
Seriously a great idea - and your son is too cute!

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