As an educator, it’s important to find ways to enhance the learning environment for students and one of the most versatile furnishings is the activity table, which comes in a variety of unique shapes, sizes, and colors.

early learning environment activity tables

Incorporating the right school furnishings for your classroom’s needs can do just that. In any classroom, learning scenarios and circumstances always change, so versatility in furnishings is key. 

Each shape and size have it’s merits and benefits, depending on the learning situation. For example, a round activity table may not perform as well for small group instruction as a half-moon or kidney-shaped activity table, which allow the teacher to be physically closer to students while instructing, creating a more intimate and personalized learning experience for the student. In this blog, we show you five unique table shapes to help foster collaboration and enhance your learning environment.

Activity Tables Stimulate Social Learning

Activity tables encourage social behavior, creativity and cooperation among students. Kidney, horseshoe, and crescent-shaped tables allow students and instructors to sit close to one another, making them ideal for small-group learning in early education, kindergarten, and elementary school classrooms. From individual arts and crafts time to group study scenarios, there are nearly endless uses for activity tables.

Want to start fostering greater collaboration among your students?

collaborative classroom guide

Kidney Shaped Activity Tables


kidney activity table

Standard Kidney Activity Table

Smith System offers many Kidney shaped tables including the Standard Kidney Activity Table, designed to serve all levels of students from pre-K all the way through adult, the Interchange Kidney Activity Table and Husky Kidney Activity Table, which is built to withstand enthusiastic use. All of Smith System’s kidney activity tables are height adjustable and are available in a number of different laminate and edge colors.


Horseshoe Shaped Activity Tables

horseshoe shaped activity table

Standard Horseshoe Activity Table

Smith System’s Standard Horseshoe Activity Table is perfect for small to mid-size group instruction. Horseshoe or u-shaped tables provide an area for the instructor to easily access students as they work.

The main difference between kidney and horseshoe-shaped tables is that horseshoe tables keep students within arm’s length of the instructor, while kidney shaped tables provide more work space for students.

Crescent Shaped and Half-Round Activity Tables

UXL Crescent Activity Table

UXL Crescent Activity Table

Smith System’s UXL crescent table has a wide variety of applications. Ideal for individual work or group working in groups of two or more, students can easily collaborate with one another if the learning scenario calls for it. As a bonus, this table also features the option to add power modules for shared connectivity and individual or group computer work.

When combined, UXL crescent tables can be arranged in a unique snake or serpentine shape perfect for larger group work. The UXL crescent table can also be capped with Smith System’s UXL Half Round End Cap to create a dynamic Team Crescent Workstation or Work Area.

A similar alternative to the crescent shape is the UXL Half Round shaped activity table, which can be arranged on its own or to cap off a grouping of UXL Rectangle tables to form a group work area. To incorporate shared connectivity, the UXL Half Round table can be outfitted with an I~O post, allowing students to power up without having to resort to a traditional wall-based outlet.

Meeting Tables

cafe activity table

Cafe Table Square Top, Circular Base

While not the same as traditional activity tables, Meeting or cafe style tables, such as Smith System’s Square Top, Circular Base Cafe Table, are a popular choice for creating a more laid back collaborative atmosphere and are commonly used in casual meeting areas, commons spaces and libraries.

Smith System offers a number of different meeting table shapes in addition to the Square Top, including Round Top, Square Top, and Double Oval. Smith System cafe tables are available in multiple heights, including, 16″, 29″, 36” and 42”.

What Makes Smith System’s Activity Tables Unique?

Smith System activity tables are manufactured with superior techniques and materials.

High-Pressure Laminates vs. Melamine:

smith system activity table top profileThere are two main laminate products used in the school furniture industry: High-Pressure Laminates (HPLs) and Melamine. The difference between the two is that HPLs are created using significant heat and pressure to adhere the substrates better, this creates a more durable and higher quality work surface for students.

Unlike HPLs, Melamine is produced at low temperature and pressure and do not contain a kraft paper core, making them less resistant to image and wear and tear. Smith System only uses HPLs in all their products.

T-Mold Edge Banding:

t mold activity table edge banding diagramThe construction of the edges is another important factor that can impact the durability of activity tables and classroom furniture. Smith System’s 3/8″ T-Mold Edge Banding is unique because it is inserted and subsequently stapled into place every 6-8 inches ensuring a secure and dependable edge.  (see diagram) 

A generic tabletop profile typically features a non-adhered 1/8 inch edge banding that’s unlikely to hold up in today’s demanding classroom environments. Without staples or some way of fastening the edge to the tabletop, students can easily pull the edge band out and damage the table.

Superior U.S. Sourced Substrate:

The durability and quality of the substrate used to create an activity table are of critical importance. Smith System exclusively uses U.S. sourced 45 lb. density particle board that meet strict California Air Resource Board (CARB2) Environmental specifications. Furthermore, Smith System’s entire line is UL Greenguard Gold certified.


Lastly, but certainly, not least, Smith System offers a generous warranty compared to some other manufacturers who offer one-year limited warranties. Smith System offers a lifetime warranty on frames and legs and a 12-year warranty on tables and desktops. If you’re interested in building a high-quality learning environment, you should look for warranties that reflect the manufacturer’s confidence in their products.


Smith System’s Activity Tables are Available at Furniture Dealers Nationwide.
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