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Kids Modern Activity Coffee Table: A How-To | Killer b. Designs



Kids Modern Activity Coffee Table: A How-To

Activity Table Tutorial Every holiday, I feel a strong urge to build something for my girls. Typically, this urge hits within five days of said holiday. Any holiday. This time it was Valentines Day, because, well, why not? I had some leftover Purebond in the garage from Christmas, and it happened to be the perfect size for a table top. So I raided the barn for a few 2×2’s, and went to work!

painted toddler activity table tutorial

This was a really quick and easy build. I spent maybe an hour building it, but at least 9 painting it. Isn’t that how it always goes? But I’m pretty happy with the mural on top, and the girls are too. We have fun building train bridges over the water and putting the little wooden ducks in the water.

activity-table-painted-top Cute, right? I painted the base white, and the top with probably 75 layers of light green. At least that’s what it felt like. Then two layers of craft paint for the details, and this sucker was done. I haven’t gotten around to adding a top coat yet, but I’m planning to use three layers of polycrylic to protect the paint from chipping too much. It’s the perfect fit for these Critter Chairs, as I’ve come to call them.

Now let’s get on with the build!

• 1/2 sheet 3/4″ plywood (I use purebond since it’s sourced in North America, and is formaldehyde free)
• 4 – 2x2x8
• 2 – 1″ x 1/4″ x 8′ trim pieces
• 8 L-brackets
• 1 1/2″ pocket hole screws

Cut List:
6 – 2×2 @ 35.5″
6 – 2×2 @ 12.5″
4 – 2×2 @ 22.5″
3/4″ plywood @ 35 1/4″ x 48″
2 – 1/4″ trim @ 35 3/4″
2 – 1/4″ trim @ 48″

Step 1:

Begin by assembling the legs. I used 1 1/2″ screws and drilled from the outside of the long pieces into the ends of the shorter pieces. You can use pocket holes, but in this case they’ll be better hidden on the outside of the wood.


Step 2:

Finish the square by adding the bottom piece. Drill from the top again, this will be hidden. Repeat for the other two legs.


Step 3:

Attach the legs to the underside of the plywood with 1 1/2″ screws. I used three screws per leg.


Step 4:
Attach all three legs, measuring and centering the middle leg. I added L brackets for additional stability, on the idside of the end legs and on each side of the center leg.


Step 5:


The last step is optional, but I found that the legs were still a bit too wobbly, even with the brackets. I drilled pocket holes into each end of the 22.5″ piece, and with the holes on the bottom, attached them to each leg at 10″ from each end. You can vary the placement to accommodate baskets or stools. I left room for the “critter chairs” I built for my girls, they’re the perfect fit!

Step 6:
I don’t have a photo of this step, but it’s attaching the trim. I placed it flush with the bottom of the plywood so it extends a bit over the top, keeping the toys and trains corralled on the table. I used glue and 3/4″ finish nails to attach it.

Then it’s just a matter of sanding and finishing! I decided on a bright, glossy white to break up all the dark wood in the room. I think it’s the perfect area for all sorts of playing!



  1. Linda Baldock

    In a word: C U T E !! The plans are great, too. AND…I love your craft wall in the background of your picture. Now you and the girls can create and play in the same room.

    1. Brooke

      Thanks Linda! It is really nice to be able to all play together in the same space

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