Children’s furniture has long been a staple in many family homes. Chairs, tables and other items that are miniaturized and kid-friendly can give children a sense of ownership and can make them feel special. Outdoor children’s furniture is even better because it encourages them to spend time outside rather than in front of the TV.

Little Tikes Picnic Table with Kids

So, whether they’re playing tea party, having a picnic or just relaxing on a nice day, a kids outdoor table or miniature picnic table is a great item of backyard furniture to own.

Before just going out and buying the first small kids picnic table you lay eyes on, be aware that there are actually more than a few different styles and sizes to choose from. The kids picnic table you end up getting depends not only on how many children you have, but also on their personalities as well as the intended use of the table.

Little Tikes Picnic TableFor example, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain or in a house with limited yard space, you may want to look into a more compact kids picnic table. Sure, they’re all small, but these ones will be easy to move in and out of the house and won’t take up that much room regardless of whether they are placed on grass, in a playroom or even a child’s bedroom. To make things easier, look for a small table with connected benches or seats, so you won’t have to move more than one piece (this is especially handy when a sudden rainstorm comes about). A compact kids picnic table is great for toddlers and young children, or if only one or two children will be using the table.

KidKraft Wooden Picnic TableNow ask yourself how much you expect the table to be used. Does it really need to be set up all the time, or will it only be used on occasion? One of your options is to get a kids picnic table that can be folded up for storage. This is great for children who like to do arts and crafts, because this table can be set up in an indoor or outdoor setting and can be moved easily for cleaning. An example of a good folding table is the Lifetime Kids Picnic Table, which seats up to four children, folds flat, is UV protected so it won’t fade easily in the sun and is stain resistant (again, great for arts and crafts-minded children). Furthermore, it comes in a variety of colors, which some kids picnic tables do not.

Going along the lines of functionality, you may want to look into a table that comes with some storage space. Some brands, like Little Tykes, have tables specifically meant for this, with small drawers either built in beneath the seats or below the table. Some tabletops even lift up to reveal storage space below. While you won’t be able to tuck away any large toys or a lot of random items, these storage spaces will come in handy for smaller items— like basic arts and crafts supplies.

If you want a more elegant look to your child’s furniture, look into a separate kids table and chairs. The pieces are usually sold together as a set, although if you have a group of children who will be using the table you may be able to buy more chairs separately. Be aware, however, that kids furniture with separate tables and chairs may cost more than a standard kids picnic table, particularly if you get more than two chairs.

As far as aesthetics go, tables also come usually in a rectangular or circular shape. This really depends mostly on personal preferences, although circular tables can be slightly safer because of the lack of sharp corners. When it comes to colors, try going with something that your children approve of. Fortunately, many types of kids picnic tables come in a variety of colors.

Of course, the price of a kids picnic table also depends on the types of materials that are used to make it. Outdoor tables generally come in either wood or plastic, but occasionally you will come across ones that are made of other materials, such as a durable combination of polyresins, recycled plastics, and polyethylene. In terms of wood and plastic, however, there are pros and cons to each. Wood is typically more expensive, but it provides a better-looking piece of furniture and if built right, it can be better quality than plastic. A kids wooden picnic table also can splinter if not coated with a good finish. On the other hand, plastic can get very hot if left out in the sun, to the point where it can’t even be used. Though a thicker plastic can be very durable, a thinner one can even become distorted in the heat. Both can undergo damage if left consistently in rain and other poor weather.

Now, where to find a kids picnic table? You can find kids picnic tables in many stores, such as IKEA, which is great because then you can have your children test the table out before you make the decision to purchase it. Nevertheless, a wider variety of tables, and kids furniture in general, can be found through comparing online retailers. Pottery Barn Kids sells picnic tables online, for example, as do Little Tykes and Lifetime.

If you don’t come across any tables you like while shopping, there’s always the option of building one yourself. For those who are not architects, there exist various kids picnic table plans that you can follow. Like many full tables, these plans can also be found online, and in some cases downloaded for free or at a very minimal price. Although these plans usually follow very simple designs (the standard rectangle picnic table with attached benches on either side), building your own allows you to paint it whatever color you want. You can also add personalized designs, or even your children’s names. After all, the table is for them.