How to Build a Kids Picnic Table

Build Your Own Kids Picnic Table, Part 1: What You’ll Need

This series of posts was written by my husband.  Every now and then, he’ll be stopping in with something of his own to share.

Build your own picnic table for kids

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a man or because I am a seed of creativity whose nature is to sprout and blossom into something sweet smelling and appealing, but I just as easily could have gone the store-bought route when my wife suggested we needed a picnic table for the boys. One that is just their size.

I’m one of those that looks at something, “examines” is probably a better word, and hears the voice in my head say “I could do that… easy.” Then I’ll have myself a manly sniff and a mental slug into my own shoulder.

Because I’m a builder!

Man make fire with hands!

Man kill bear with knife!

Daddy build tiny table for little boys!


Glove, wood and tape measure

So just like man has done since the cave-dwelling days, I looked up some plans on the internet, took a ride down to the hardware store, and bought what I needed to craft something personal and functional for my children to enjoy. The weather here is very lovely and has been quite conducive to eating outside. If not eating, then water coloring or molding dough into an unrecognizable figure my son swears is a dinosaur.

Man building a kids picnic table

I think the most important thing I do is include my children in what I am doing; my wife and I let our boys help us cook, my son handles the hose when I wash the car, I give my kids responsibilities when we clean house, and with this project, I was happy to have my boys help out in building their mini-picnic table.

Boy helping father build a kids picnic table

Oh yes… happy to have them run off with my hammer and “bam” on things (like the car) or try to see how far the tape measurer could stretch out – all at the exact moment I needed the use of a tape measurer. Of course I was happy to avoid the “near miss” situation with the miter-saw (I’ve never really recognized the need for all ten fingers anyway).

A little bite of the tongue and a deep breath later, I remembered being a little boy. Patience.

My boys are explorers.

We call it guided chaos.

Whatever you call it, we now have something durable and weather proof. Something we can enjoy, time and time again. Something priceless.

A memory.

We have a pretty sweet little picnic table, too.

Boys eating on a kids picnic table

How to Build a Picnic Table for Kids, Part 1

What you’ll need

  • Customized plans/diagrams/designs (I took several ideas from the internet and formed my own set of blue prints for this project. You can be as conventional or creative as you feel you are capable).
  • Lumber (I got 5 2” x 6” x 8’ planks to make a 4’ long table with 3-boards-wide top and 1-board-wide for each bench).
  • Galvanized 2 inch nails (galvanized so they don’t rust).
  • Safety glasses.
  • Work gloves.
  • A tape measure.
  • A protractor.
  • A straight edge.
  • A pencil.
  • A miter/circular saw (or you could go colonial and use a hand saw).
  • A hammer (maybe two – one for you, one for the kids).
  • Sandpaper.
  • A pint of weather proof paint (I used indoor/outdoor paint and seal).
  • Paint brush.

To find out what you’ll do with these materials, head on over to Build Your Own Picnic Table for Kids, Part 2: What You’ll Do.

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