The water table was one of those 'simple' projects. I've been scheming about building the boys a water table for months. Finally, my father stepped in and built the wooden base while he was visiting. Simple = Guilt Your Loved Ones into Doing the Work.
I wanted it to be wood. (I've been biased by my fond memories of wood water tables in Munich.) And I wanted to put a big old-fashion cast iron hand pump on it with a PHYSICAL-LABOR-LIMITING water supply, for educational purposes. (The water is in the red tub below the table.) This summer, both the boys have been known to turn on the water faucet and use the water hose by themselves. Worse than their ability to turn the water on, is their strange INABILITY TO TURN THE WATER OFF. The pump doubles as a gimmick/distraction piece. It arrived last month, so we attached it to the table and set up shop. So far, it's worked: they are a lot less interested in the hose! An added feature of the pump is that the leather gasket occasionally dries out over night, meaning that the pump needs to be 'primed' before they can use it. Basically, one pours some water down the pump from the top. They both think priming the pump is very cool: I think it makes them feel like they are 'fixing' something.
In my dream version, Colorado would allow us to collect rainwater, which we would exclusively use for the water table. And then, well...um....this year, the boys would have no water to play with. But in a pedagogically ideal year, they would learn about water conservation! Well...we can't (legally) collect rainwater anyway; so instead we fill the red tub beneath the table with water using a hose. The water drains (mostly) back into the red tub. Over the course of about a month, I've only added water to the tub twice. So, I think we're still limiting the amount of water they have to play with. Kind of. Let's just say it's better than a continuously running hose.
I'm still fiddling around with the functionality of the table - trying to get it to do more. Noah and I went on an exploratory shopping trip to Home Depot with the sole purpose of finding new additions (plugs, pipes, hoses, funnels). We are hoping to build the water table up onto the fence - but we'll see. Summer is almost over, and I think my dreams may have gotten a little oversized again....