Jun 152012

kids activity center with large worksurface and storage below

One of the essentials of a home activity center is proper furniture and not just any furniture will work…..if you want to keep messy activities under control. Spills, splashes, smears, and stains are inevitable when glue, paint, markers, and water are involved.

Here are a few tips on how to choose activity center furniture to create a kid-friendly corner:


Fully Adaptable
  • Look for tables with adjustable or convertible legs to raise height as kids grow.
  • Let kids “tush test” chairs to check for correct height for their age so they can sit comfortably while working on projects.
  • Save on space by using dual-purpose furniture—tables with storage below, cabinets with adjustable shelves, and benches with storage.
activity table with rolled paper storage for kids activity center
art center table with storage for kids activity center
Easy Maintenance
  • Finishes must be washable or scrub-able to take the worry out of messy activities.
  • If wet play is involved, wood surfaces must be finished on all sides, not just the top, to avoid damage.
  • Provide tip proof storage to reduce spills.
Safety Factors
  • Choose furniture with rounded edges instead of sharp corners.
  • Joints should be sturdy creating stable work surfaces.
  • Hardware should be hidden or recessed from the surface.
  • Finishes should be non-toxic.
  • Re-purposed furniture must be free of all loose parts.

(See Safety Features of Kids’ Room Furniture for more safety tips.)

chalkboard surface table made from recycled crib for kids activity center


To encourage imagination and exploration as kids create masterpieces, look at a workspace from a kid’s perspective before making any selection. Choose furniture that first meets all the criteria listed above and then look for fun shapes and colors readily available. Make it safe. Make it fit. Make it fun.

pink metal stool used at kids desk for activity center and kids artwork project

Activity center for single use with attached storage, work surface, and easy to use stool. Great for small spaces. Add wall-mounted shelves or pegboard to clear work surface.



More on the Home Activity Center Series here:

(See the KidSpace Interiors special report Home Activity Centers: How to Keep Kids Busy When School’s Out for more reasons why an activity center is important plus get stats from the Kaiser Family Foundation Study and the IKEA Playreport on detrimental effects of kids media OVER-use.)

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