From a decadent dinner with (real or imaginary) friends to a glam tea party or spirited coloring session, lots of fun takes place when kids have pint-sized tables and chairs to call their own. Choosing the right table for your children gives them a place to be creative, enjoy mid-morning snacks, finish homework, and host meetings with beloved stuffed pals. As you start looking for kids’ tables and chairs, there are a few key things to consider. Use this handy guide to find the petite table-and-chair set that’s right for your family’s youngest members.
Just like it is with your dining table and seating, it’s important for kids’ tables and chairs to fit them comfortably so they can concentrate. The smallest chair sizes suit kids who can toddle and walk (or who are almost there) between ages 2 and 3. Larger chairs suit kids up to ages 8 through 10.
When your kids are seated properly, their legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle with their feet flat on the floor. To find the proper seat heights, have your kids sit with their knees bent and measure the distances from the backs of their knees to the bottoms of their heels. That’s how tall the tops of the chair seats should be. Most seats are available in heights between 8 and 18 inches.
To keep your little ones comfy while they’re sitting, it’s important that their table is the right height, too. In general, there should be 8 inches between the chair seats and the bottom of the table. If your child uses a wheelchair, this 8-inch guideline is still a good one to follow — just be sure the arms of the chair fit underneath the table if necessary.
Tables for kids usually come in three shapes: round, square, and rectangular. Most tables are large enough to seat four children comfortably, although some only seat two. In general, the table you’re looking at will come with the number of chairs that can fit around the table while leaving enough room for everyone to sit, reach, and move around. If you’re purchasing chairs and the table separately, remember the guideline that the bottom of the table should be about 8 inches taller than the tops of the chairs.
Knowing the measurements of the tabletops doesn’t just help you figure out how many kids can perch there. It also tells you how much space you’ll need to set the table up in a playroom or other space. Try to leave 24 inches of space open on all sides of the table so it’s easy for kids to pull chairs in and out.
If your children can dream up a table design they love, there’s a good chance you can find a set that resembles their vision. Kids’ table and chair sets come in a vast range of colors and materials, and many even boast fun characters and embellishments. Think about the materials and their benefits as you browse for your children’s seating.
Want a table that’s extra-convenient? Aside from providing the perfect place to play or study, kids’ tables can also feature different types of storage, no matter which material they’re made from. For a quick place to tuck pencils and books, look for a design that has an under-table storage shelf. It’s similar to a bookbox-style classroom desk. These nooks drop below the tabletop a few inches, but your children’s legs can still fit comfortably underneath.
To stow bigger items like toys, consider a table with built-in storage cubbies that fit bins. These shelves may be part of a table’s center pedestal, or they might serve as a support across one end of the tabletop instead of two legs. Think about what your children might use often at the table, and choose a desk that can fit those supplies or toys. For more toy storage options beyond the table, try a bookcase, toy box, or baskets.
With the right kids’ table and chairs, your little ones will have an enjoyable — and even a bit sophisticated — place where they can explore the heights of their creativity. Consider the size, material and storage features as you shop to discover the table and seating that are ideal for all the fun memories and activities to come.