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When I take my son to the Harley-Davidson store to see his Daddy at work, he gets really excited.
Not only does he get to see his Daddy and all the shiny motorcycles. But it usually means he also gets to enjoy some playtime in the kids area — which has:
- A toy box full of toys
- Some ride on/rocker motorcycles
- An awesome activity table
The activity table is actually a Thomas The Train table. It has all the tracks, bridges, and Thomas & Friends trains. And it’s the perfect height for my 16-month-old son. He completely forgets that I’m even there, as he gets so engulfed in playing with the trains and tracks.
Because my son always loves playing at this train table whenever we go to this particular Harley shop, it gave me an idea to get an activity table for his playroom at home.
We were about due for an activity table of some kind — especially since he spends so much time in The Original Learning Tower by Little Partners that we got for him.
I knew that an activity table would be a great way to get us off the floor while playing together. Currently we are into Duplos, cars, trains, Fiddlestix, and whatever else we get inspired to get into whenever we’re stuck indoors.
As a new mom, I’m quickly realizing the need to keep toys and activities engaging… and constantly evolving. His interests in toys are outgrown just as fast as his clothes!
My Search For The Best Kids Activity Table
I started shopping around to research what types of activity tables were available.
It turns out there are an endless amount of activity tables for toddlers to choose from.
I wanted an activity table that would:
- Last a long time
- Grow with my son
- Have multi-functional use
- Be durable (not made of pressboard, laminate, or plastic)
I was really happy to discover the Nilo table!
The Nilo table is a really thoughtful and well-made multi-activity play table.
Did You Know?… The Nilo table was created in a garage back in 1992 when Nile Earnest, a father of 2, sought to solve a problem. Back then, there was simply a lack of multi-functional activity tables on the market suitable to fit their needs. So at his wife’s suggestion, Nile built a table that would be large enough to fit the Lego/Duplo baseplates. He also added holes around the border — which could accommodate a poplar construction toy at the time. I love the story of their beginnings and how the table was created!
Nilo Activity Table Review
So far, my son and I have spent many hours playing together at this fun activity table.
The one we have is the large Nilo multi-activity childrens play table.
Here are some of the reasons I believe the Nilo table was the right choice for this next phase of my son’s developmental learning:
- The table itself is very solid with hardwood framing! It comes in different sizes and a variety of finishes. I’m always a fan of the warm brown tones — to go with rest the of the furniture in our home. We were lucky to get a dark mahogany Nilo table before they were no longer available.
- The Nilo activity table is built to last for life with a solid top instead of a split top — so I don’t ever have to worry about my son breaking the table if he happens to climb on it!
- This activity table has a white melamine top — which can be easily wiped clean. The melamine top is double sided, too. So if one side gets damaged or worn out, I can easily slide it out of the track to reveal a new table top!
- The Nilo table is available with or without holes around the border. We got the one with holes around the perimeter of the frame — because the holes are designed to be compatible with other building toys including: Nilo-Jax, Rok-Jax, and Nilo Nails (which also work with ZOOB Builderz, Fiddlestix, BRIO builder sets, Tinkertoys, and K’nex building sets). The fact of the matter is… I really do enjoy building things with my son, but I am extremely thankful to have so many choices to switch it up and keep it interesting for me as an adult, as well.
- The Nilo activity table has a classic and timeless look — which is heirloom quality. I like how it’s not “decorated” with any one theme, so my son will not outgrow the graphics or the look & feel of this table.
- The table border helps keeps manipulative pieces (puzzles, Duplos, Legos, etc.) on the tabletop surface, while my son fine-tunes his coordination and fine motor skills.
- The table is the perfect height. It’s 19 inches high, allowing my son to sit comfortably or to stand at the table while playing with his Duplos Legos, cars, etc. When he gets older, we can do arts, crafts, homework, puzzles, and more on this workspace. Nilo even has a 24-inch leg kit — to add years of use as your child grows taller!
- The table is the perfect height for both seating and storage. Nilo has a 12-inch high stool for this activity table. They also have some nice roll-out storage bins that fit perfectly underneath the table.
NOTE: I’m still trying to figure out the perfect toy storage solution, as we are currently in the middle of my son’s bedroom makeover. I will post an update once the project is completed!
The Nilo Table Continues To Grow With My Son
I look forward to adding one of their Graphic Play Mats — which depicts roads, waterways, bridges, and forest areas. This will really let my son’s imagination soar while he drives his cars and trucks on the table around the roads!
I recently ordered these items from Nilo to enhance our activity table fun:
4 Nilo Lego Baseplates – These mats are made for Duplos on one side and Legos on the other side. They’re designed specifically for the Nilo activity table — so they fit perfectly into the tabletop and won’t slide around once they’re in. That way, we can build our Duplo creations using the entire table surface right now, and then switch to the Lego side as he gets older.
Nilo Slide Hammer & Nails Set – This includes 1 slide hammer and 12 nails. Basically, my son can hammer the nails into the perimeter holes and work on his hand/eye coordination. These nails are compatible with ZOOB too — so we can build unlimited creations off the cylindrical nail heads.
ZOOB Builderz Kit – all the ZOOB pieces snap, click, or pop together, in addition to being compatible to the Nilo nail heads — so we will be able to build unlimited items in lots of creative ways! All of the ZOOB building sets are unique because the pieces actually move with their cylindrical joints, allowing for truly interactive creations.
Nilo Theasel – I’m hoping this multifunctional easel will provide many years of creative play for my son. It has a double-sided wood frame which locks onto the Nilo activity table, but it can also be used on any flat surface. This multi-purpose easel includes a magnetic dry erase side and a blue felt side. It comes with a wooden magnetic letter set, a wooden magnetic number set, 6 felt squares to cut patterns, and a 20-foot roll of paper for painting, coloring, etc. (which stores under the the easel whenever it’s not being used). We can use this easel as a dry erase board, a magnetic board, a felt board, a painting surface, a coloring surface, and more. We can even create a Puppet Theatre — simply by sliding out the panel and adding the included red theater curtains!
The Bottom Line…
The Nilo activity table has been a great addition to my son’s room. The table itself provides a great playing surface for my son and I!
We currently play with Duplos and trucks for hours at a time. I like to build little towns for him — which he likes to play with and explore, as well as help destroy. It’s definitely fun to watch his motor skills and coordination come together!
We also play with the cars, trains, and trucks driving on just the plain white melamine surface of the table sometimes.
What’s really cool about the Nilo table and what I’m most excited about is the endless number of options that this activity table can be used for!
These days, we are living in the moment, playing and building, day after day (when we’re not outside hiking). Unfortunately, the summers in East Tennessee can be stifling hot — so we tend to get cooped up a bit in the heat of summer as it becomes too hot to explore the great outdoors. But thank goodness for our Nilo table to keep us entertained!
If you’re ever in the market for a great activity table that’s built to last, I would recommend checking out the Nilo table and supporting a small US-based company.
Here’s my review of the blue car pictured above… the Step 2 Whisper Ride-On Push Car Stroller.
I’m a new mom. I work from home and I write — mostly about my outdoor adventures, DIY projects, newly discovered products, and helpful tips as a first-time mom. I also like to share details about the alternative choices I’m exploring as I enjoy this journey called motherhood. My family includes a toddler, 2 stepchildren, 1 dog, 1 cat, and a wonderful husband. My pre-pregnancy life was full of freedom and adventure, so I have a fresh new perspective when it comes to walking away from a career to become a full time stay-at-home Mama.