Like most two year-olds, my daughter, has shown an interest in trains. Unlike Penelope's two closest train-loving friends, it's a very casual interest that ranges from "meh" to "favorite!!" on any given day. Thankfully, for our wallet's sake, we were given more than enough hand-me-down Thomas the Train stuff to easily gauge if Penelope's train interest would stick.
It only took me tripping once on the said train stuff to realize why train tables exist. Penelope's birthday was coming up and a train table seemed to make sense as a somewhat practical gift. I researched and found a bunch of trains tables *I* wanted -- Waterfall Mountain, for example, seemed pretty darn awesome.
But then reality set it and I imagined Waterfall Mountain sitting in the corner of an already cramped room serving as an expensive storage hamper. Penelope's interest in trains did not require the awesomeness of Waterfall Mountain and I decided to do something a little less grand and a bit more personal.
The requirements for our train table?
- It should be able to move throughout the various rooms of the house with relative ease.
- It should be multi-purpose for all different play scenarios.
- It should be fairly inexpensive
- It shouldn't require any carpentry skills
To make the table portable I decided to use multiple tables instead of one large one. This way I could put them together for a larger surface or keep them separate in different parts of the house. I purchased four "Lack" tables from Ikea -- the Lack table being the staple of many an Ikea hack.
Although I had initially planned to paint the surfaces, I decided to stick with my most comfortable medium -- sewing -- and picked felt for the embellishments. In retrospect, painting would have probably been more practical since it creates a more cleanable surface. The decor was simply cut from other pieces of felt and then stitched onto the larger green felt backdrop. Then, I used a staple gun to secure the felt to the Lack tables.
I kept the tables fairly simple since I didn't want to dictate too many of Penelope's activities. As you can see from the photos, two tables are missing -- these will be completed after I'm more aware how Penelope uses the tables.
They've been a hit and, as the photos attest, are used for all sorts of crazy scenarios.