My older two girls LOVE Lego. I’ve been finding they play with it for hours daily, but I’m constantly having to pick up all the pieces from the carpet (as they work on the coffee table). With a baby very near to crawling around, I had to find a solution. I started watching for sale ads, and freecycle listings for an appropriate table for this project. It was when we were visiting my in-laws, that I spotted a coffee table that was ours, that we had been storing at their house, and thought it would be perfect. I inquired if they were using it, and started thinking through my project. There a few requirements:
1. Needed to be low enough for the girls to work at without chairs, but high enough to keep the baby away from a majority of it when she started pulling up on furniture.
2. Needed to accommodate at least 2 work areas, for those days when the girls are not playing nicely together.
3. Needed to also have enough surface area to sink a bucket for storage into (to keep all the little pieces off the floor).
I brought my Lego base plates to my in-laws to start planning my project. The coffee table was a smidge too narrow. My mother in-law ended up suggesting the kids table that my father-in-law had made my husband when he was a child. We pulled it out and it was the perfect size for what I needed. So we hauled it home and got to work.
I’ve included our step by step, in case you want to take on this project yourself. It was a very easy DIY project, and I figure we’ve got at least another 10 years of Lego in this house.
-table to repurpose
-acrylic paint (I chose based on the selection of mis-tint (CHEAP!) paints at my local paint store)
-plaster of paris
-Lego base plates
-storage bin (with wider lip to keep it from falling through the table)
-E6000 glue, or liquid nails
First we measured out the centre point of the table, and measured the cut-out we would need in order to drop our bin in the table. I debated whether we do 2 smaller bins, or 1 larger bin, and decided the single bin would be better for us, having the little one around. It would be harder for her to reach it. After marking our cutting point (and erring on too small… just in case, easier to make the hole bigger than to cut it too big to begin with), we clamped our straight edge to the table to keep the router in a straight line. We did this with each side, to get a nice, neat cut-out.
We then double checked by placing the bin in the hole. Perfect!
I then mixed my chalk paint up (thought it would be the best option for this project, as it minimizes the amount of prep, as it sticks to nearly everything, and the top of this particular table was arborite). I used DIY Mommy‘s recipe for chalk paint (if you’ve never visited her blog, she is amazing! I love every project she does!). A good 2 coats (3 on the top) with the paint, and I was ready to glue the plates on. I chose to use E6000, and made sure to mark and centre the plates prior to gluing. After letting it dry, it was ready to go!
We did lay down a few ground rules with the girls (if a piece falls off the table, it needed to be picked up immediately, and that if they walk away from the table, all loose pieces needed to be put in the bin, but any Work in Progress could be secured to the plates for working on later. The girls played with Lego for the rest of the day after we brought it in (and my husband and I may have too).
I think this table is the perfect addition to our playroom. It’s lightweight, and easy to move out to the living room, and baby will not be able to reach into the bin for quite a while after learning to walk. The table is high enough she could stand by it as she starts pulling up, but not be able to reach into the bin. The bin is also big enough to add more Lego to, so room for their growing collection.
Maybe one day they’ll become Master Builders and create larger scale projects like these we saw at the Lego store in Downtown Disney in Florida. Ok, I never expect them to be building on that scale, but the girls thought these creations were absolutely amazing, and I truly love to see all their own creations with the Lego. Nothing like basic building blocks to foster creativity!