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Challenge: Summer Fun

Staying Home with our Sand, Water and Rice Table

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One of the many benefits of traveling with kids is that you can take fun ideas from your travels and replicated them at home. We've been lucky to have the opportunity to check out a lot of children's museums. Owen's favorite activities usually revolve around the water tables. So, we decided to build one ourselves and incorporate Owen's favorite water features.

The first thing I did was comb the Internet looking for a good base plan on how to build one. I found this one on Frugal Fun 4 Boys and loved the way the overhead part could be removed and how interchangeable the tubs were. And I figured we could get creative on the design of the overhead part. I decided I'd like to have one tub for sand, one for water and one for rice. I've also been itching to make cloud dough and thought this might be another great addition for the table.

I found the tubs and spray paint at Walmart (after searching 3 other stores to find tubs with similar dimensions to the instructions). Then, we found most of the PVC stuff from Home Depot. My husband already had PVC pipe cutters so he was able to cut the pipes in half so we could fit them in the car. I thought we could assemble the water table in the living room while watching TV, but my husband smartly pointed out that the PVC glue fumes would be awfully strong. We compromised and cut all the PVC pipes in the living room and assembled/glued in the garage.

The great thing about this table is that it's completely customizable. You don't even really need instructions, as you can just cut the pipes to fit whatever size tubs you can find. You can also adjust the height to suit your kiddo. I opted to have Owen use a step stool to reach the funnels so he can get a few more years out of this table.

Here's our cost breakdown:

  • (3) Sterilite Clear Tubs: $30
  • (8) 10' long PVC Pipes: $28
  • PVC Elbow Joints, T-Joints and Caps: $6
  • PVC Glue: $5
  • Spray Paint: $4
  • 25lb Play Sand: $25 (my husband thought the $5 bag at Home Depot was too rocky)
  • 20 lb Rice: $10
  • 2 Funnels: $2

Easy ways to cut this cost is to just have one clear tub and pour the sand into a bucket or other container when you are turning it into a water table. You can also get cheaper sand and skip the rice.

My son has already spent hours playing with this! We had 6 other toddlers over for a massive playdate and this table was the hit of the party. It was so engaging that all the adults were able to eat dinner in the living room without kids, which was a first for our group!

To hear more about our summer adventures, check us out:

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