Children's water table

I have a 1 year old son and wanted to make him a water table. Turns out he’s actually too young to really understand what’s going on so it’s mainly for myself.

Runs off a 12v water pump mounted underneath that pumps water from one side to the other. Mega block base for dam building.

Birch plywood, sealed with 6 coats of water based poly.


I think it will get a lot of use for a long time. Very good idea, and the project looks like a hit to me!

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What a great idea… love it. I’m guessing you sealed the wood with varnish… is that enough ?? or silicon around the joins ?

I have an ole fish tank pump that might do the trick

Yeah it’s covered in 6 coats of poly. The “floor” sits in a groove machined into the side walls to hold everything right and help seal it. After the poly I went along and sealed the edges with silicone. I think next time I will use epoxy on the main surface for more durability. The water pump is positioned to auto prime and the outlet has a check valve to prevent backflow from one side to the other when it’s turned off

As the owner of a 25 year old wooden kayak I can attest to the durability of epoxy impregnated ply but its probably overkill unless you are planning for more kids after this one.

Both the poly and the epoxy will degrade in the sun so store it in the shade. Poly by itself will eventually fail from getting scratched and having water get under the shell if it stays wet but you only need to get 2-3 years out of the table so it will be fine as is. You could probably add a coat of wax to the wet parts and extend that indefinitely.

Wish mine were still little enough to try this it looks like fun.

Yeah I’m noticing it goes a bit white when the water sits in the tanks for a while. It’s definitely in direct sunlight as well. What wax would you recommend? Just like a paste wax?

I realized I build it more for myself, the kid was just the excuse to build it. It makes a good patio centerpiece as well when drinking beers with friends. Everyone tires to dam up the whole thing but I’ve designed it so it’s impossible to completely block the flow so the pump doesn’t spin empty. Really is a ton of fun.

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Are yours big enough to provide new little ones of their own? In a responsible fashion, of course!

Yeah that would probably work, you would need something ton-toxic for the little one. It’s really just to fill the microcracks that form on the poly. I’m probably overthinking it. Enjoy your toy and CNC a new one if it fails in a few years if you still enjoy it.

I certainly hope not… 5 year old and twin 11 year olds.

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Mine are 15 and 18, which is why I added the responsible caveat… :wink: I’m expecting another 15-20 years before I have to deal with little ones again, dang-nabbit!