Pester power – the force is real. When our kids ask and ask about getting a table tennis table there are a few common pros and cons that come to mind. The positives, “well it’s active play” and, “I like table tennis too”. And the negatives, “is there space?” and, “how long until they get bored of it?” These are valid and common concerns with buying a Ping-Pong table so let’s explore them.

 

Is there space?

We hear this time and time again when talking to parents through this community or through the Funsports store. The reality is that Ping-Pong tables are big, and the concern is if we have a table what are we missing out on in this space?

 

It sounds simple but the best way to think about this is to turn it on its head. “If we get a table tennis table, what else can we use it for?

 

Firstly let’s check in with a few realities.

 

Ping-Pong reality 1

You can buy table tennis tables that folds away and wheels into a corner. If your muscles and back start to ache just thinking about this then watch this video. You don’t even need to fork out for the top tables to get one that can easily fold and wheel away – I “kid tested” this asking my 5 year old son to pack it up alone. 

table tennis pack up

Ping-Pong reality 2

You can buy an outdoor table that stands up to anything the Australian climate can throw at it. Waterproof and described as “teenager proof”, outdoor tables mean you don’t need to sacrifice indoor space for a table, just a patch of grass or patio.

 

Ping-Pong reality 3

There is one keyword often overlooked in a table tennis table...”table”. Take the net off and throw over a tablecloth and voilà – you have a perfectly respectable and sturdy table. I recently tested this out at a family dinner, perfect solution for when the kids have friends over and the dining table just doesn’t cut it for size.

tabel tennis as a table 


Will they tire of it?

Now, having touched on these three table tennis space and practicality points, we might be satisfied the table will fit but there’s still the concern of whether it will be used. I know that many of you can remember, like I can, the last time you bought your kids the latest video game to find out two weeks later they have “completed it” or just moved to the next thing.

 

The beauty of an active sport is that it extends as far as imagination goes and can never be completed. And even while your kids are mastering the sport of table tennis, you can still mix it up by tyring these alternative games.

 

1 – Ping-Pong Blow

You will need some tape and two drinking straws for this game.

Remove the net and tape out two goals either end of the table. The aim of the game is to blow through your straw to move the Ping-Pong ball past your opponent and into the opposite goal. You can get your kids’ friends involved having defenders and pass the ball to maneuver around the opponent. A perfect game that kids can modify on the fly.

 

2 - Sharp Shooter

You will need a box, scissors and a pen for this one.

Get yourself a box or a series of small boxes (shoeboxes or tissue boxes will work). Cut a decent sized hole in each one and place them around the Ping-Pong table. Give a point value to each hole. Players will take it in turns to shoot for the hole (either throw or hit with the bat), trying to sink the ball in the hole. Another way to tackle this game is to fold up one half of the table and Blu-Tack targets for players to hit – if they’re sharp shooters.

 

Try shooting from various distances, adding obstacles and moving the boxes to spice up the game. A simple game with endless possibilities.

 

3 – Mix up the traditional

It’s the most natural progression for kids to mix up and adapt the rules of table tennis. I liken it to the backyard cricket mentality. Over the fence is 6-and-out, one-hand-one-bounce and other ‘house rules’ make it fun, different and keep kids interested for longer.

 

Try encouraging your kids to add obstacles like, you can’t move your feet, only use your non-dominant hand, and hit the ball only with the handle of the bat. House rules will make it fun, ‘even the playing field’ and extend kids’ interest in the table tennis table

 

Where do you land?

So after reading this article you’re hopefully thinking about table tennis tables differently. Not as a space liability but as an opportunity for lots of uses and new active games for your kids.

 

Writing this blog was a lot of fun and I know that other parents out there will have seen their kids play some interesting games on their own tables. We’d love to hear about them and grow this blog, so please get in touch via our #KidsOfCouches hashtag and community page.