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How to Build a Kid’s Activity Table

Naturally, you want to encourage playtime over screen time when it comes to your kids. But you also (selfishly) dread a living room full of toys. So how can you ensure that fun, learning and organization all collide? By using your own skills to create a fun play table with plenty of storage—that’s how.

With the help of the 2021 Ford F-150, chances are you can accomplish this project in just one day (although it will take some planning). The truck’s available Tailgate Work Surface and the available Pro Power Onboard mean you can also camp out in the driveway to get it all done while still watching the kids in the backyard. It’s multitasking at its best. See the full instructions below. For even more inspiration, check out our full list of summer projects here.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • (2) 2” x 2” x 8’ select pine stock
  • (1) 1” x 2” x 8’ select pine stock
  • (2) 24” x 36” x ¾” birch plywood
  • (3) 1” x 10” x ¾” select pine
  • (8) 1-½” non-swiveling casters
  • (500) 18 gauge 2” brad nails
  • (150) 2-½” wood screws
  • (1 pt.) wood glue
  • Power drill
  • Table saw
  • Chop saw
  • Speed square
  • Measuring tape
  • Grip clamps

Step 2: Cut Wood to Size

Pro tip: Sanding boards prior to assembly will be easier than upon completion.

Table:

  • Four (4) 2x2 at 13 ½ inches (legs)
  • Three (3) 2x2 at 21 inches (short aprons and center support)
  • Two (2) 2x2 at 33 inches (long aprons)
  • One (1) ¾-inch plywood at 24x36 inches
  • Two (2) 1x2 at 24 inches (short trim)
  • Two (2) 1x2 at 37 ½ inch (long trim)

Storage Bins:

  • Two (2) ¾-inch plywood at 14x21 ¾ inches (base)
    Four (4) 1x10 at 21 ¾ inches (long sides)
  • Eight (8) 1x10 at 15 ½ inches (short sides)

Step 2: Assemble the Legs

Assemble two sets of legs. Each pair is connected by the “short apron.” Use pocket holes to secure legs to apron. Attach both pairs of legs with the “long apron.” Screw long apron pieces into legs using 2 ½-inch pocket hole screws.

Step 3: Attach Tabletop

Complete the table by attaching 24x36-inch plywood directly to the top. It should fit squarely. Screw from bottom. Attach 1x2 trim to edge of plywood. Trim should overlap plywood ¾-inch above it to create a small enclosure. Trim can be attached with screws or finish nails using a compressor and a nail gun.

Step 4: Assemble the Drawers

Make pocket holes into the long sides of 14x21 ¾-inch pieces of plywood. Three holes each side should suffice. Attach bottom to long drawer sides using 1 ¼-inch pocket hole screws.

Step 5: Create Handles

Before attaching front and back pieces carve out semi-circular “handles” using a jigsaw. Draw the circle by centering a protractor on one of the long edges of the board. Draw a circle with a 3-inch radius and 6-inch diameter. Use a jigsaw to carefully cut along the drawn line. This can take skill and multiple tries to get right (yes, even for someone with experience). If you nail it on the first try, give it a sand to soften the edges and attach directly to the rest of the drawer with screws. If your semi-circle needs some help, give it a more thorough sanding or use a router with a rounding bit to make the imperfections less noticeable. Then attach to the rest of the drawer.

Step 6: Add the Wheels

Add 1-inch casters to the bottom corners of each drawer (four per drawer) and sand the edges. Now, get ready for (self-contained) play time.