Family Picnic Table

Turning Your Picnic Table To A Family Fun Center: How A Picnic Table Can Be Your Children’s Favorite Summer Escape
Submitted by: Joseph Kortez

When kids think of their summer vacation, little minds wander to a haven away from the halls of academia. No more over-bearing teachers asking where their homework is, and no more watching the clock, waiting for the next recess. But they no longer think of days occupied by picnic tables and playgrounds anymore. Rather, they are taken away to a land full of fun and favor, of playing video games all day, and letting their minds forget what they learned all year.

While kids immediately make this the image of their summer vacation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Many of us grew up before the days of computers and gaming systems. Interactive entertainment was defined by whoever we could round up for a game of sandlot baseball, or which friends’ house we were sleeping over at that weekend. Those days of lore are not lost – in fact, they can be found in as close as your backyard. And it can all revolve around your picnic table.

Creating a welcoming picnic table is not nearly as hard as it sounds. Tables don’t need wires, flat-panel video screens, or anything of the like. Instead, it can be as simple as using the imagination of your children.

As you begin to design, get your children excited and involved in the process. Find out what they want to have on their picnic table. This will give them a sense of ownership in the process, and make them interested in putting everything together. Let them know that this is powered by their imaginations, and they should feel like they have complete creative license. What are their favorite cartoon characters? What are their favorite stories? As they come up with ideas, write them down, and help your children narrow them down to a theme.

Once you’ve decided on a theme, its time to paint! This is the perfect advantage to having an untreated wood picnic table – it allows you to create a masterpiece with a blank canvass! First, lay down the base coat of paint – this will be the main color of the background of your picnic table. Once dry, draw out the designs you have decided upon in pencil. This will serve as your stencils. For even more family fun, mark each area with a number, and create a paint-by-numbers canvas for your children.

As an extra treat for your patio table, be sure to mark out game boards to paint on your picnic table. Consider marking out a checkerboard and a backgammon board to paint on the table. Checkerboards provide a board for many different games of skill to be played on, and Backgammon is a classic that provides a challenge for both young and old. These games will encourage your family to come around the table, and enjoy the long summer nights for years to come.

Once your picnic table is painted and dried, it is ready to be covered with a coat of polyurethane (to seal and protect the painted cover), and your picnic table is ready to be enjoyed by your family for years to come! As time wears on, your table will be a place of family gathering, protected by urethane from the elements and dirt. And as your children grow old (and grow into new interests and hobbies), redesigning your picnic table is as easy as sanding the old paint off and starting from new!

By designing your picnic table as a family fun center, you will be creating an outdoor entertainment center that will encourage activity for years to come. With creativity and a little paint, anyone can create a wireless fun zone that will continue to be treasured by your friends and family.

About the Author: Joseph Kortez is a freelance writer with diverse interests including home and garden, outdoor furniture and backyard living. A media professional, his work has been featured on CNN and the CBS Evening News. He currently writes for Outdoor Furniture Plus and In Style Patio

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