The 10 Best Kid Picnic Tables
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in January of 2016. These pint-sized picnic tables give kids their own special place to gather in the backyard for meals, games, crafts, and more. They’re designed so that little ones can easily climb in and out, without much assistance. Many come with umbrellas to provide UV protection and keep children comfortable, and some are also equipped with sand and water compartments for double the fun. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 01, 2021:
In this update, we removed the Furniture Barn USA Premium, Merry Garden Wooden, and Back Bay Play Convertible due to availability concerns. We also removed the Lifetime 60239 because its metal components had a tendency to rust over time. In adding new models to the list, we picked two options that have a neutral aesthetic that can fit in well with a nice yard as well as two more whimsical choices that should appeal to little kids.
As its name suggests, the Best Choice 3-in-1 serves three purposes: picnic table, sandbox, and water table. This is thanks to two plastic bins that can be concealed under a removable top piece. The bins are also removable, which makes it easier to swap out the sand and water and to clean them when they get dirty.
The Costzon Ladybug isn't a traditional picnic table, but is a cute model with a smaller footprint that can easily be used for a toddler's outdoor lunch. If your kids aren't great with balance, then this can be a good option, as the included chairs have backrests. The table surface is rather small though, so it's not suited to as wide a range of activities as others.
Also new to the list, the Best Choice 2-in-1 can convert into a garden bench when not in use. If you need a table for kids to eat at during an annual barbeque or family reunion but don't want to take up too much yard space during the rest of the year, this can be a good solution. As a picnic table, it should be able to accommodate adults, though it might be a tight fit for some. As a bench it has a weight capacity of 380 pounds and can comfortably seat two adults.
March 05, 2020:
We added the Furniture Barn USA Premium to the list, which is crafted by hand in the United States from durable poly lumber. This refreshingly maintenance-free piece of furniture features an octagonal tabletop and four built-in surrounding benches. It’s sure to last your family many years, since it’s impervious to insects and can survive extreme temperatures without fading, warping, or rusting. It’s available in a two-tone version, upon request. Your order is custom built to your specifications.
Other tried-and-true models that are featured prominently on our list include two quality, American-made Step2 models. The Step2 Playful features soothing, natural shades of green, brown, and yellow, so it’s sure to fit right into your backyard setting. It’s got comfortable contoured seats and is built of plastic, yet designed to look like it’s made from wood and sandstone. The large umbrella will provide some UV protection. The Step2 Sit and Play snaps together quickly, making it a cinch to put together, even for those who aren’t particularly handy. It collapses flat for convenient storage, and its overall small footprint makes it well suited for small spaces.
The Little Tikes Fold 'n Store, currently in the number one spot, provides ample room for six (and possibly up to eight) small children, thanks to the continuous bench that runs around its periphery. Kids can gather at this stable and sturdy table for meals, games, and conversation. It blends in well with natural surroundings, thanks to its muted colors. When you’re ready to put it away, it folds up easily and can be hung on a wall for storage.
If your kids can’t get enough of the outdoors, be sure to also check out our list of best playhouses, some of which even come with attached picnic tables, as well as pretend appliances and other cool features.
For safety's sake, always supervise children during play, and be sure to assist them in getting onto and off of these picnic tables' seats, as needed.
Jayhawk Plastics Recycled This outdoor table is available in either cedar or green, and it sits safely close to the ground. The built-in seats are made with durable 2-by-4 resinwood slats. It’s sturdy enough to be used by your family for many years, and is suitable for a backyard, a playground, or a daycare center. It’s comfortable for meals, crafts, homework, and more. Its top consists of one solid piece, rather than a series of slats, making it easy to write or draw on top of. Heavy-duty zinc-coated hardware is included, for both strong weather resistance and an easy assembly. aaastateofplay.com
Forever Redwood Toddler Unlike other models designed for children, this model has no plastic and no loose joints. It’s crafted by hand from solid redwood, and can be customized to your liking: Select one with or without an umbrella, in a standard or a seamless tabletop, in your choice of stain. It features rounded corners for safety and is finely finished to prevent splintering. foreverredwood.com
Why You Should Take Your Kids On More Picnics
In such spaces, humans are forced to pay very controlled attention to their surroundings because of all the dangers and distractions.
Though your child might request technology-centered activities like playing video games or using a tablet, it's worth it to convince her to attend a picnic. In fact, studies have found that too much screen time is linked to decreased connectivity between certain regions of the brain. Going on a picnic naturally removes young ones from outlets and devices; it's just you, your family, and the great outdoors. An added benefit of surrounding your child with greenery is that it gives her mind a chance to relax. According to Attention Restoration Theory, people need a break from the busy, bustling lives of metropolitan areas. In such spaces, humans are forced to pay very controlled attention to their surroundings because of all the dangers and distractions. But in nature, the mind is allowed to reflect and wander a bit more, which ultimately leads to better focus.
Picnics also provide an opportunity for your family to bond. Whether you're in a park or on the beach, you're at least away from ringing landlines, computers requesting updates, chores, and the many things that constantly demand your attention and pull you away from your family in the house. This simpler environment enables you to converse with your child and engage in activities that keep you a part of the same conversation, like naming the various flowers around you. When you're in the great outdoors, your child's only source of entertainment is the humans around her, so it encourages her to communicate more than playing video games ever could.
Another important benefit of spending time in outdoor recreational areas is that it encourages a sense of environmental responsibility. These outings give you a seamless opportunity to talk to your child about picking up trash she finds on the ground, not leaving a mess behind, and locating a recycling bin for cans and bottles. You can point out the beautiful surroundings and say that earth-conscious kids like her help those trees and flowers survive. Hopefully, she'll take these practices to the school playground, her friend's backyard, and everywhere else she enjoys nature.
A History Of Picnics
Some might argue that humans have been picnicking since the beginning of time, considering that our greatest ancestors had no choice but to eat outdoors. But this healthy pastime has some more interesting roots and milestones that go beyond cavemen dining on rocks. In fact, historians believe that this activity stems from a far more cultured, and even elite group. During Medieval times, the ultra-wealthy would have hunting feasts. These were elaborate meals they'd enjoy before venturing out to capture wild animals. Though consumed outdoors, they'd involve many of the luxuries one would have had at an indoor meal at that time — not unlike today's picnics, in which we load special backpacks with flatware and all the trappings.
During Medieval times, the ultra-wealthy would have hunting feasts.
While, at first, dining al fresco in breath-taking settings was mostly only accessible to the wealthy, that changed in 1789. At that time, royal parks became open to the public, so nearly anyone could have a snack among well-manicured, luscious greenery. By the time the Victorian Era came around, picnicking was widely enjoyed by the masses. Any fans of notable Victorian writers such as Jane Austen or Charles Dickens knows that these individuals often depicted their important characters first meeting at relaxed but quite elaborate meals in nature.
Even though groups of hunters were having banquets in the forest as early as the 1400s, the first version of the actual word "picnic" didn't appear in writing until the late 1600s. Tony Willis wrote in his "Origines de la Langue Française" of something called a pique-nique. This, however, simply referred to individuals who brought their own wine to a restaurant. It wouldn't be until 1748 that we saw the full word "picnic", as we know it today. A British diplomat named Lord Chesterfield wrote of drinking, playing cards, and enjoying conversation during something he called a picnic, which leads some historians to believe it was the British elite who added games and activities besides eating to this past time.
How To Choose A Kid's Picnic Table
When selecting a picnic table for your children, you need to think about the specific habits and needs of young kids. There are several safety factors to consider. You may want a model that has a built-in umbrella to protect your little ones from harsh UV rays. Considering that nearly half of a person's sun damage occurs before the age of 20, it's important to start encouraging kids to stay in the shade early on. Also, make sure your table doesn't have any sharp corners since playful little ones can easily run into the bench or table and hurt themselves. If you go for a wood model, make sure it is finished so as to not cause splinters.
Simple wooden models with classic striped umbrellas and bench seats fit the bill, as does a simple plastic molded model.
Convenience is also important when picking out your table. If your yard is already covered with children's trampolines, swing sets, and other youthful items, you may be limited on space. Fortunately, there are options that have a small footprint, and fold up for storage when not in use. Some even have built-in shelves, so you can tuck away some of the other toys lying around. Since children aren't exactly the tidiest of eaters indoors, one can imagine how messy they'll become when dining outside. That's why a model that is easy to wipe down and doesn't stain would be a smart choice.
The style is another consideration since your child's picnic table will become a part of your patio or garden decor. If you'd like to keep your yard from looking like it's been totally overrun by rug rats, there are some sophisticated designs that look good enough for adults but are built with little ones in mind. Simple wooden models with classic striped umbrellas and bench seats fit the bill, as does a simple plastic molded model. That being said, if you need help enticing your son or daughter to take his lunch outside, then a more colorful model could be of use.