Have you seen or used busy boards with your baby or toddler? They are amazing learning tools and can be tailored to your child needs. Some children like opening and closing things, some like to admire themselves in the mirror, love noises, textures, light and others won’t leave locks and doorknobs alone. You can make an all-inclusiveentertaining board of activities to keep them busy! I decided to make this board for my 2.5 year old daughter. She is VERY active and loves to get into anything and everything. She needs to be busy all the time. I wanted something that could be used over and over, plus offer a wide range of play activities. In case making a busy board for your toddler interests you; just follow along with this step-by-step tutorial of the busy board I did for my toddler.
Step 1 Decide how much space you have First figure out which wall you want to mount your board on. After measuring my space; I went to the Plywood and Veneer Shop and asked for a size similar to my requirement, if they had readily available with them. Please note the left-over plywood pieces at the shop are charged less as against a new purchase. The shopkeeper offered me a 12 mm plywood piece available with him and fortunately the size also matched my requirement so I quickly grabbed it. Step 2 Get the plywood ready Since it was a raw plywood piece the next task was to make it vibrant and eye-catching before I go ahead mounting the hardware and other craft supplies. I paid next visit to a paint shop and bought some sand paper, paint brush, primer and yellow paint (this colour was at much more reasonable price then the others). We first used the sand paper to scrub the plywood surface and make it smooth and later gave it two coats of primer in order to get the plywood surface ready for paint.
Once we were done with the primer, we allowed it dry completely. Later we again used sand paper to even out the surface and then our plywood was ready for the colour 🙂
Step 3 Paint it with love! We all three (Mommy, Daddy & Little One) were getting very excited while we were able to move from one step to the next and we were thoroughly enjoying the entire process of building up our Busy Board ourselves. Finally we picked our paintbrush and started with the splash of yellow paint in the direction of the wood grain.The bare piece of plywood became totally effervescent as if someone instilled life in it.Keeping all excitement at bay please do not forget to allow the paint to fully dry before moving to the next stage.
Step 4 Head to the hardware store The next step is step to check out what you already haveat home (collection of old mechanisms, hinges, latches, chains etc.) else head to the hardware store and go nuts. Make a visit to a hardware, sanitary, electrical or plumbing store close to your house and look for different types of hinges, knobs, locks, latches, screen door latch, a compass,chain locks, plastic tube, water tap, funnel, wheel, bell, chain, small wood pieces, light switch box, fringe, used keysand a magnifying glass. Crafting and other supplies likebuttons, beads, sponges, brushes,zipper, velcro, old calculator, pomp-pomp balls, plastic bottle, net, mirror, clothespin, elastic strings, alphabet, number & story stickers, kitchen paper roll, baby jewellery (bangles, beads necklace, bracelets etc.)almost anything that can be made to move or make noise or can be used for dress up or story telling could work. You could get really carried away with a project like this.
Step 5 Position and install hardware We came home with all the purchases as shown in the picture below and started laying everything out. We used screws to attach everything to the board and pre-drilled holes to make sure our items attached properly. We did find that some of the items we purchased didn’t work with the board. Also hot glue is handy for attaching things like the plastic tube. Please note that there is no right or wrong way to cherry-pick or layout your hardware. Children will anyway find all these shapes, colours and textures tantalising. My little one started exploring much before the board was completely ready 🙂 so just have fun with it.
Step 6 Finishing & mounting to the wall and wait for playtime to begin! We did final finishing with craft supplies and adding the little ones name and picture to the board. The greatest part of this DIY busy board project was the final result and my daughter’s response to it. After playing for a while she came running to me and hugged me and said “mumma thank-you” and those words were very rewarding and made me felt accomplished post the efforts we had put in. My daughter has been loving this board all this while and we have mounted it at her height so she can get maximum use out of it. The total cost of the project was about 1600 Hundred Indian Rupees but could have been done a lot cheaper if we had used hardware at home instead of buying new. Caution: Please keep track of small parts as you work, so you don’t leave little bits behind that child can choke on. Also, ensure that the child is engrossed with Busy Board under adult supervision so as to avoid any mishap.