Favorite Summer Toy for Early Speech & Language Development: The Water Table {Blog Hop & GIVEAWAY!}

therapy bloggers giveaway image

I am THRILLED to be partnering up with some fantastic therapy bloggers this week to bring you valuable recommendations and information AND provide you a chance to WIN a gift card to Amazon so you can purchase a new summer toy for the child(ren) in YOUR life!

Here’s how it works: Each of the participating bloggers, who are physical therapists, occupational therapists or speech-language pathologists, will be sharing the developmental benefits of their favorite summer toy with us. HOP around and read all these great posts and then enter for your chance to WIN! Let’s get this party started!

FAV summer toy

Children LOVE playing with water and a simple water table (or just a big bucket or small kiddie pool) can provide hours and hours of fun and opportunities for speech, language & vocabulary development. In addition, the water table is a very versatile product. You can use it JUST with water or you can fill it with sand, rice, beans  or other filers (examples below) to turn it into a whole different sensory and learning experience every time!

General tips on using a water table this summer:

  • Make sure to have lots of different containers (buckets, spoons, cups, etc) so your children can pour the water into different containers. Use different shapes, sizes and colors.
  • If your water table has two (or more) compartments, you might consider filling one side with sand and one with water.
  • Bring out little toys from inside! Little animals, cars, boats, trains, etc., all make GREAT additions to the water table! Fantastic Fun and Learning has a great round up of 20 “small world play” ideas you can do in a water table! It is a MUST READ!
  • Don’t limit yourself to just water and/or sand! As I already mentioned, you can also fill the table with other items!  Sand, colored rice, beans, foam building blocks, oatmeal, moon sand, cloud dough…check out Little Bins for Little Hands for 40 different things you can fill a sensory bin with as they can all be used in a WATER TABLE!

How To Target Speech & Language Skills with a Water/Sand Table

water table ev

Speech/Language Areas You Can Target While Playing With the Water/Sand Table

You can target just about anything with a water table! Here are some ideas for you, depending on your child’s needs:

  • Imitation skills: Some little ones need to first work on imitation skills. One thing you can do is imitate your child’s actions, vocalizations and/or words while he plays. Imitate something he does/says and then wait. You can learn more about building imitation skills in my post all about turn taking and imitation.
  • Turn Taking Skills: Practice taking turns with toys to help teach the import skill of turn taking, which is vital to speech, language & social development.
  • Animal sounds: Grab some small toy animals and throw them in the water/sand table! Model different animal sounds and provide your child with opportunities to imitate you and make the animals talk.
  • Articulation (speech sounds): You can use the water table to target sounds your child may be working on in speech therapy. For example, if your child is working on the /p/ /b/ and /m/ sounds, you can gather items that begin with those sounds and place them in the water/sand table for play! Say the words and encourage your child to repeat your words.
  • Body Part Identification (on self or toys)
  • Pronouns (I, me, you, he, she, they, hers, his, etc.)
  • Prepositions: You can use water toys, cars, toy animals (just about anything) to target preposition vocabulary while playing with the water/sand table.
  • Basic concepts: sizes, shapes, colors
  • Adjectives: other describing words
  • Verbs and verb use
  • Requesting: The water table is a great time to work on simple requesting skills. You can hold a desired toy just out of your child’s reach, look at him and WAIT. Model the language he needs if he needs a prompt/cue.
  • General pretend play skills
  • Following Simple Directions
  • Answering Simple Questions (who, what, yes/n0)

Additional Tips using Water/Sand Toys **VIDEO**

***Laura Mize from Teachmetotalk.com shared her Therapy Tip of the Week on Monday after I posted this and guess what? It’s ALL ABOUT WATER PLAY! So I just had to embed it here for you! So many GREAT ideas!

Examples of Water/Sand Tables

Here are a few cool water/sand tables (Amazon affiliate links for your convenience).

Step Two table 1

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table

step 2 table 3

Step2 Splash N Scoop Bay

little tykes water table

Little Tikes Sandy Lagoon Waterpark

Now YOUR Chance to WIN!

Here is your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card so that YOU can pick up a new summer toy for the child(ren) in your life! Here is how it works:

  1. You’ll head over to each of the participating bloggers’ Summer Toy Post, check out their recommendation and then leave them a quick comment! (links are below). Have you tried it? Will you buy it? Would your kiddos love it? How would you use it?
  2. Once you’ve left a comment on all the blogs, you can enter on the rafflecopter widget on ANY ONE of the participating blogs (not ALL of the blogs!)
  3. Use the Rafflecopter widget to give a “like” to the Facebook pages of the participating bloggers for additional entries!
  4. Sit back and think about what toy YOU want to order if you WIN!! Good LUCK!

The Inspired TreehouseOT CafeGolden Reflections BlogPink OatmealTherapy Fun ZoneYour Therapy SourceMama OTStarfish Therapies  – Playapyplaying with words 365

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Open worldwide to those 18 years and older. Please read FULL RULES BEFORE ENTERING, available in the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway closes June 6 at 12:00am

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.  
About Katie

Katie is a licensed, credentialed and certified pediatric speech-language pathologist and mom to three (5, 3 and 9 months). Her passion about educating, inspiring and empowering parents of children with all abilities led her to start her blog Playing With Words 365 where she shares information about speech and language development, therapy ideas and tips, intervention strategies and a little about her family life too. Katie has been working in the field of speech pathology for 9 years and is certified in The Hanen Centre’s It Takes Two to Talk ® and Target Word ® programs and holds a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to blogging and being a mommy, Katie works part time in her small private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Water tables are a favorite here! They’re so simple to set up and my daughter just loves them – and great for hot days too!

  2. Love this! Use these tables all the time!

  3. Michelle Prichard says:

    I LOVE water tables!! Great for water play, especially when we can’t make it to the pool!

  4. Love it!

  5. This looks great! I use a water table year-round, and love the idea of an attached water wheel. I love adding Aqua Terra beads to water to discuss size, texture, shape, and making predictions.

  6. Elyssa Donarski says:

    Love the water tables. I have been checking them out online to find the perfect one.

  7. We love our water table–my favorite thing is that there are SO many ways to use it! It truly is an investment that grows with your family.
    Melissa D recently posted..Who wants an iPad mini?! (Of course you do!) | Rachel & the TreeSchoolers GiveawayMy Profile

  8. I love water tables. I am going to try using it in therapy next week with my mod-severe kindergarten and 1st graders, so I will tell ya how it goes! I know my toddler at home loves it.

  9. Kenzie is a water baby this year!! I have got to get her a water table!! :)

  10. We purchased one last year. We’ve used water and sand with ours. Tons of fun.

  11. Water tables are fun, but are definitely something that is better to do outside.

  12. Ashley W says:

    I don’t have a water table but I need to get one!

  13. Water tables are awesome, love the diversity of things you can work on.

  14. We use water tables at the early childhood center all the time! love them!

  15. Crystal Dawn says:

    Love the social skills/language incorporated into play. Thank you!

  16. Jennifer says:

    I am looking at getting one of these for my little guy!

  17. My son got a water table for his first birthday last year. We pulled to out for the first time last weekend and he is obsessed! Ours is great for cause/effect, too, because there is a water pump and a lot of water wheels.

  18. I love your ideas for the water table- encouraging speech in creative ways all while having fun outside! Thanks!

  19. Stephanie K says:

    Love these tables!

  20. Nicole Millheim says:

    I visited it all the blogs. What a giveaway!!! I love water tables. My kids would have hours of fun with one! thank you for the great chance to win

  21. Laura J says:

    Oh Carter just loves to play in water! I do love the idea of putting in beans! We made a sensory box landfill for Carter as he loves garbage trucks and I used all kinds of beans! He really enjoys the bean play!

  22. Children and a water table during the hot summer = SUCCESS!

  23. Water tables are great, I like the idea of using other sensory mediums. It is great to be reminded how to incorporate other disciplines into our activities. Thank you.
    Kristie recently posted..Favorite Summer Activity: Playing with Bubbles {Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY!}My Profile

  24. I ADORE mineral water kitchen tables!! Ideal for mineral water play, especially when we can’t allow it to be towards the share!

  25. Natalie says:

    This is a great toy to both entertain my nephew and keep him cool in the hot weather at the same time.

  26. I am potentially starting to pick up some home visits after spending a year working solely in the school system….I am a little nervous but reading things like this are getting me excited to expand my thinking and my play skills with the younger kiddos!

  27. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    I want one of these on our deck! Would keep my son busy for awhile!

  28. Michelle J. says:

    We just pulled outs out, and my kids love it!

  29. We don’t have a water table yet, but it’s the thing I really want for my girl and niece! I am going to buy one this year! Thank you for the ideas and for the examples of the water tables!
    Sweetlana recently posted..Photo Project: “Colours of the rainbow”. Фотопроект “Кольори райдуги”My Profile

  30. Donna Kellogg says:

    I will have to get my grandson a water table he will love it

  31. I have always wanted one of these for my kids. They don’t come cheap. I am still waiting to find one in my budget.
    Becca Wilson recently posted..Whole Latte Love Book ReviewMy Profile

  32. Melissa says:

    I would love to have a water table when I have kids some day.

  33. Taylor Closet says:

    All about having fun and getting them moving. LOVE IT!

  34. Liz Riendeau says:

    This looks like great fun.

  35. Melissa Mazzur says:

    water fun is great for all ages!

  36. barbara Adams says:

    Engagement is the key, and this is a win!!!

  37. One of my favorite activities! Great post!

  38. Adrienne Murray says:

    Always been a fan of water play! thanks for spreading the word!

  39. So glad I found your blog!! We have been waiting to get a water/sand table until this summer when my son (4yo with cerebral palsy) was able to stand better. Our 2yo little girl is also has a minor speech delay so this is very helpful for both of them. Can’t wait to try out all these activies!!

  40. Kristin Gideon says:

    I LOVE all these ideas of how to best use our water table!! I’ll definitely refer back to this post. I also love the reminder to use the water table as a sensory bin too, I always forget to do that!

  41. Thomas Murphy says:

    My favorite summer activity is going to the beach.


  1. […] Blog  –  Pink Oatmeal  –  Therapy Fun Zone  –  Your Therapy Source  –  Mama OT  –  Playing With Words 365  –  […]

  2. […]    Playapy  –  Playing With Words 365 […]

  3. […] –  Therapy Fun Zone  –  Your Therapy Source  –  Mama OT  –  Starfish Therapies  –  Playing With Words 365  –  […]

  4. […] excited to see this list of great ideas for water table play from Asia at Fun at Home with Kids! This post from Katie at Playing with Words 365 shares the educational benefits of water tables, specifically […]

  5. […] may be over, but the water fun doesn’t have to end. Playing With Words 365 has great information to share on getting creative with water tables and making them fun yet […]

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