Sunday, September 23, 2007

Extra seating for kids: A quick and inexpensive way to seat lots of children, with minimal storage (for Sukkot or birthday parties)

Materials used:

  • 5 bricks (not shown, but two of them usually go on the top of the table) (50 cents each at the hardware store)
  • A 52"x70" vinyl tablecloth ($2 at the department store or $5 at the supermarket) for every two tables you intend to make. This gives the table some water resistance. We usually cover them with another tablecloth when they're being used at a meal.
  • Duct tape (you must have some on hand...)
  • Storage container (Just to give you an idea of which ones I use, here's a link to a dozen of them for under $10 each, but they go on sale at the department store for about $6. And I doubt you'll need a dozen for use as tables...)
  • 2'x4' luan plywood, 1/2" thick ($2-$8 at the hardware store, depending on the quality of the wood.) I've always used the cheapest $2 type, and replaced the table-tops every couple of years after they warp from being left out in the rain too long.)

Instructions for making a table:

  1. Option 1: Cut the tablecloth in half width-wise, resulting in two 52"x35" pieces.
    Option 2: Cut the tablecloth 30" from each end, resulting in two 52"x30" and one 52"x10" pieces.
  2. Option 1: Duct tape the tablecloth to the plywood.
    Option 2: Duct tape the tablecloth to the plywood. Then cut the 52" x 10" piece, and use it to wrap two or three of the bricks. This makes the bricks more aesthetic, and keeps them from crumbling brick-dust on the table. It also makes the bricks less likely to snag the tablecloth.
  3. Set the storage container's cover aside. We won't be using it.
  4. Place three bricks inside the upright storage container.
  5. Place the vinyl-covered luan plywood on top of the open container.
  6. Place two bricks on top of the "table".

The three bricks in the container make it sturdy. The bricks on top of the plywood are not shown in the photo above, but should always be in place when these tables are used. Otherwise, the top will likely flip over when the children put pressure on it.

WITH THE BRICKS, we have used these "tables" for many birthday parties and as "kids tables" in our sukkah.

We keep three or four of these "tables" in our basement. They store very compactly, as the storage containers stack, and the bricks and plywood fit inside.

The last time I made them, was about four years ago. It cost under $20 to make 3 tables like these. Using the little plastic yard chairs (usually go on clearance at the end of the season for $3 each) we can seat 8 children at each table.

The nicest part is that the storage containers can be re-purposed if you decide you don't need them for use as tables.

4 comments, so far. Add yours now!

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phyllis said...

great idea, thanks for sharing this one...

Miriam said...

Hey JF -very neat with things ppl already have at home!

frumhouse said...

As always - very clever.

Rivka said...

You never cease to amaze me for functional and frugal solutions :)

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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