Got an old train table collecting dust in the playroom? Kids may have outgrown those classic wooden train sets, but the toy table itself still likely has life left. With a little imaginative DIY spirit, that retired train table can transform into the perfect art, activity or building station adaptable as kids grow.

Repurposing what you already have makes use of quality furniture while saving money and effort. Read on for inspirational ideas to give that tried-and-true train table renewed purpose for all sorts of children’s activities beyond just trains.

Why Repurpose a Train Table?

Outgrown train tables often still have plenty of great features that make them ideal kids’ furniture:

  • Spacious surface for projects
  • Low open access for play
  • Built-in storage shelves or drawers
  • Durable construction to withstand years of use
  • Raised edges corral mess
  • Proper kid height for activity

Reinventing a beloved toy table already common in many households beats sending useful furniture to a landfill prematurely. With a little TLC and elbow grease, that retiree train piece transforms into the perfect multi-purpose station sized just right for art, building, crafts and more.

First Steps for Repurposing Your Train Table

Start your makeover mission by fully clearing off the existing train table. Remove tracks, mats, trains or train set scenic elements to reveal an empty base. Take out any screws, connectors or hardware to dismantle track assemblies.

Give the cleared table a thorough cleaning using kid-safe cleaners. Sand or strip areas with damaged paint or wood finish. Fill any imperfections in the tabletop surface with wood filler, allow to dry then sand smooth.

The blank canvas is now ready for your repurposing imagination to run wild. Think broadly about your child’s evolving interests and developmental activities that would flourish with dedicated space.

Creative Activity Table Uses To Inspire You

A quality train table makes wonderful workspace because of its:

  • Flat surfaces suitable for projects
  • Raised lips to catch spills
  • Open access for play
  • Kid height for standing or sitting

Leverage these built-in benefits that enable all types of activities when brainstorming ideas for repurposing. Here are some inspiring train table transformations:

1. Art Station

Foster your mini Matisse or Monet by dedicating the table for messy artistic endeavors. Use washable tempera paint and chunky crayons suitable for little hands. Incorporate storage for supplies like construction paper, kid scissors, glue sticks and googly eyes. Let imagination color outside the lines.

2. Building HQ

For aspiring young architects, incorporate bins of blocks or Lego bricks to construct towers and designs. Smooth surfaces provide ideal foundations for intricate structures without wobbling. Have nearby references of landmarks or vehicles to recreate. Display finished models on built-in ledges.

3. Maker Space

Encourage DIY innovation by providing tools for tinkering like recycled materials, tape, fasteners and weights. Sort category bins help organize the chaos. Provide how-to guides for inventing games, contraptions, jewelry or robots. Perfect for wet/dry STEM activities too.

4. Game Central

Use panels to transform spaces into life-sized board games to advance by hopping along numbered squares. Or rely on ample surface space for traditional game boards likes Chutes & Ladders. Have designated storage for games, cards, dice, tokens and puzzles to keep play tidy.

5. Reading Nook

Line inserted crates with pillows and soft blankets to get cozy while diving into books. Include bookmarks, Safari Ltd. TOOBS and character toys to reenact tales. Use ledges to display favorites and baskets for central storage. Add clip-on task lighting for better visibility.

6. Dress-Up Domain

Bring pretend play fantasies to life within the train table boundaries. Use the empty cavity underneath big enough for a child to climb inside to secretly transform into a princess, firefighter or veterinarian costume. Attach a mirror inside to watch the change unfold. Open access allows easy quick changes.

7. Nature Study Area

Foster curiosity in living things by offering supplies to explore natural specimens like plants, rocks and seashells. Include magnifying glasses for inspecting details and tablets with apps to aid identification. Flat surfaces provide the perfect place for sketching scientific observations too. Use shelves to display special finds.

So next time you feel frustrated by that neglected train table collecting dust, see the potential. With new eyes, a little effort and inspiration, you can give retired toy furniture fresh purpose for years of childhood creativity and play.

Inspiring Ideas for Repurposing Train Table Uses Specifically for:


  • Sensory Table – Filled with water, rice, beads, sand or soil for scooping and pouring practice
  • Playdough/Slime Station – Open access for molding and squishing
  • Ball Run – Attach tubes, funnels, tubes for dropping soft balls
  • Puppet Theater – Use to put on shows for the family
  • Living Room – Set up space for toy cars, trains, dollhouses


  • Lego/Block Table – Smooth surfaces for building stability
  • Dramatic Play Area – Kid-sized props and costumes
  • Sandbox – Fill bottom compartment with play sand, trucks and molds
  • Easel – Paper rolls, chunky crayons and paint cups
  • Kitchen – Toy food, plates, appliances

School Age

  • Craft Station – Provide all types of art/science project supplies
  • Electronics Lab – With battery packs, wires, light bulbs, buzzers for circuitry experiments
  • Game Table – Chess/checkers, puzzles, dominos
  • Greenhouse – Use grow lights and trays to start seedlings
  • Invention Lab – Hammers, nails, recycled parts container


  • Snack Bar – Designated spot for making DIY treats
  • charging Station – Built-in outlets and cords for devices
  • terrarium – succulents, decor
  • Spa – Manicure supplies, foot bath, lotions
  • Study Space – Add cushion, clip light and storage

Key Benefits of Repurposing Train Tables Include:

  • Makes use of quality furniture you already own
  • Often simple to convert for new purposes
  • Provides appropriately sized kid workspace
  • Promotes open-ended creativity
  • Designed specifically for kid accessibility/safety
  • Versatile to suit evolving skills and interests
  • Can adapt enhancements as kids grow
  • Fosters independent play and learning

So next time you start to dismiss that old train table as useless since your little engineer aged out of wooden track playsets, take a second look. With modest effort, that tried-and-true toy table readily transforms into the ideal height specialty station ready to fuel your child’s interests for years ahead.

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