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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.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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tools.jpg
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)


 
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USS Sandhu made it!1 year ago

What a super easy and fun project. Thanks much for posting this... my little guy loved it!

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Mollerina made it!26 days ago
We made this table this weekend! My son loved it! What a fun project!!! Thank you for sharing the tutorial! :)
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earvedson made it!1 month ago

Great idea, thanks!
I built a slightly different model, using only soft tubes and a transparent box so you can see whats going on inside.

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BrandonG122 months ago

I built this today... figured I'd earn my rights to Father's Day. I'm going to unveil it tomorrow in 1.0 stage for my 2 year old. A bit of a snag was that everything shot too hard/too far with the holes I drilled, so I kept going up one size (repeat about 4 times...) and then all the sudden one more hole increased and half of it didn't get enough pressure to fill the tallest tube.

Made some mods, bought a few new caps at Home Depot. Going to finish it up tomorrow morning.

I'm thinking of (but haven't yet figured out how) adding some kind of attached water wheel for the water to fall onto and spin.

Also some kind of shell/hood thing for one of the tubes that shoots water up to kind of fan it out in a curve.

theerikjohnson (author)  BrandonG122 months ago
great ideas. post a picture if you are willing.

and happy fathers day.

Thanks! :) Here is a picture of my 1.0 version. Going to modify it more, as I said.

I also noticed that everything liked to start leaning very easily (at least in my setup...) so when my son starts touching it too much it starts to lean the whole structure a ton. I think it has to do with the pump shifting so that the cut out lid holes force it to lean and teeter. I am working on a way to stabilize everything... I'll let you know what I find out, if I do. :)

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theerikjohnson (author) 2 months ago

Thanks everyone. I love that after four years, people still comment on this. I never would have imagined.

spalterthump made it!2 months ago

Had a sick kid on a hot day. This project was amazing. We used 3/4" PVC and left all the top joins open. Bought a lot of different fittings and had a lot of fun rearranging things. Thanks for the great instructable!

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christinaknoxville made it!2 months ago
Glued 1" PVC, added 1/4 turn valves, painted it and... Voila!
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sdebono7 months ago

awesome, but I wonder how safe it is if something goes worong with the pump. Would a Ground Fault Interrupter be enough to ensure safety ? Thanks

idryo made it!1 year ago

I made one for my 11 month old. He loves it!

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phinch3 years 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.
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phinch phinch1 year ago

I made a bigger, lower version..

http://www.instructables.com/id/Backyard-Recirculating-Splash-Pad/

theerikjohnson (author)  phinch3 years 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.
USS Sandhu1 year ago

I'd love to make this for my 1 year old son. Can anyone tell me what the minimum GPH should be on the pump? Would something like this suffice?:

http://www.amazon.com/PP29105-Underwater-Aquaponics-Hydroponics-Fountain/dp/B006M6MTMI

Thanks,

Sam

I used a 260 GPH pump for mine. the one you linked should work fine.

TONY36961 year ago
Forgot to add the pictures...
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TONY36961 year ago
I set mine up so they could wash their trucks, grab a drink, and fill up squirt guns. I also used Pex tubing, being an HVAC tech has its advantages!! I plan on changing it as they grow to accommodate new activities.
bradherman1 year ago
Just finished building ours. I used a heat gun (paint aisle) to heat up the black pipe. This worked so well, It made it like the attaching the joints like butter. All it takes is 15 seconds with the gun on high, you don't want to melt the pipe just make it very warm. I still need to add 2 end caps and extra play features but for now it's working great. I'm still going to add a laminar flow fountain to one of the up tubes. The build time was right around two hours, and this guide was fantastic.
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FirstSpear1 year ago

Brilliant idea. Kids do get bored with paddling pools and the like, and just end up pouring buckets of water on the grass\dog\plants\sister\mum. I hope others mod this and extend the interest possibilities. Infinitely expandable.

Bleach. Kids swim in Chlorine all the time, and that's what most bleaches are. Water purification tablets, perhaps?

Electricity. RCD obviously.

Make_This1 year ago
What a neat idea. I need to find someone w a toddler ...thanks for the spark
theerikjohnson (author) 1 year ago

Thank you all for your comments and interest.

hammer98761 year ago

This looks like great, wet fun! Just for another idea, I saw a water feature in a museum where you could divert water flowing slightly downhill. I could dam it all up, make it go fast down a sluice, or make it go snaking down the table. All this with little removable walls and stationary pegs. I had to fight the children off to play with it. (Actually, it was a slow day and I shared it with only one child. Good fun.

theerikjohnson (author)  hammer98761 year ago

yes, I saw something similar using Legos. it was great fun for all ages. Thanks for the comment.

shortw1 year ago

Nice idea and set-up.

Take it from someone who has sat in enough doctors offices enough times, add the appropriate amount of bleach to the water AND change the water Every Time the kids use it. (mty after each use)

I raised 2 kids and the nasties from playing in/with water can be serious. Allowing it to sundry on all sides is also helpful.

That said, this is awesome for kids. Make huge one put over your pool and just use the chlorinated pool water.

great project

Just use new water every time you use the table, and make sure to dry it out really well. Don't add bleach to the water the kids are playing with, that will most certainly get into their eyes at some point. Good lord, the nannies on this website just make me never want to look at the comments ever again.

Actually no to the granny crap, use bleach. If it is enough to burn the eyes it is way too much.

My kids and a bunch of other all got the gift of Coxsackie Virus more then once. All from pool water in water that was changed daily, (after each use and then rinsed).

The Doctor told us to put a drop or so (maybe a teaspoon maybe half teaspoon, can't remember), in the water. After we dropped in some bleach, no worries.

Obviously do what you feel you need to do, or do not do what you feel you need to do. Be part of the Great Darwinian game of life.

I do agree there are many silly legalese warnings, but this is not one of them. Great project though. Trust me, I have plenty of big painfully earned scars, so I can understand your point.
csokl1 year ago

Sweet, great ideas, thx

bradherman1 year ago
If you use a package of straws glued together inside one of the spouts you can make the water come out looking like a glass tube. Like the fountains at Disneyland.
mailmam711 year ago

For those of you who are worried, get a solar pump, problem solved!

Exocetid1 year ago

This is a super-clever idea! Quite customizable and expandable as your son gets older.

• legs next year when he gets taller.

• a hose and a variety of cups, possibly a water wheel from an aquarium.

• toy boats and a tray.

--the possibilities are endless!

KevinOKane2 years 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)  KevinOKane2 years 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.
what you talkin bout im maing one for meh
!
Broom3 years ago
Needs a video!
theerikjohnson (author) 4 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!?
oworks4 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. http://www.koshin-ltd.jp/products/domestic/bus/std.html
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