With that in mind, when we recently moved to our new house (that included the yard and patio area that our townhouse never did), we went out and purchased this almost immediately:
In case clicking links isn't your thing, here's a photo of it:
Anyway. so this was our almost-3-year-old for about the first two weeks we had it, she was elated and wouldn't step away from it:
This was particularly awesome while we were painting and she wanted to "help."
After a few nights, however, I came out to find that the water looked something like this very loose, Microsoft Paint-created approximation. The yellowish-brown is not to reflect the color of the pool itself, that's the scummy color the water had taken on:
The small black flecks are random crap that apparently grew or landed in there. The big black flecks are the flies that all committed suicide collectively into this water table. It was frigging nasty.
So, I did what any normal human would do - I bleached the shit out of it. It took maybe eight bleach wipes to get that thing less than gross. I thought maybe the fact that we'd had it at the edge of the patio near the open air meant that more stuff might fall into it and make it gross, so I refilled it and put it near the house totally under our canopy to lessen that.
Three nights later, it looked back like this:
What I didn't picture here, as it seemed a touch grisly, is that the adorable plastic animals that came with it had now developed something that looked akin to leprosy on them, so I also had to bleach them for quite a while.
We've debated bringing it inside our three-season porch, but I assume it will still get some sort of film, so then we've got the new problem of getting it back outside without spilling the water all over to clean it. I don't really know if there's anything we could put in the water to keep it from getting filmy and nasty.
So, through no fault of Step 2, this was a wildly impractical purchase (beings as I have a full-time career and want to spend my time at home with my family, rather than obsessively de-grossing a water table).
Overall, my reviews would be:
Value - Good price overall, about $50 normally, got on sale for $30
Child entertainment level - 8/10
Practicality - 1/10