Family Crafts,  Home & Garden,  Preschool Kid's

Sensory Busy Boards for Children

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Does your child like toys? I don’t mean enjoy getting them. I don’t mean liking to look at them.  I’m not talking about the propensity to clutch them in a death grip when you try to take a toy that has been untouched for months to a donation site. No, I’m talking about actually enjoyment of playing with them.

It’s probably just a phase for my almost 1-year old, but the kid has no interest in toys whatsoever. He enjoys throwing his cars and pushing his large train around. That. Is. It.

Again, he is only a few days shy of 1-year, so its developmentally fairly normal. But still, he has an entire house of toys! Not even a smudge of interest in any of them.

Instead, the child is obsessed with my decorative display of pinecones. He loves pulling himself up, grabbing a couple and ripping them apart. He also very much enjoys waiting until all the towels are neatly folded, opening the cupboard and pulling them all out. Don’t even get me started on the dog balls. The dog is actually scared to take her balls out because she knows the little crawling minion will be on her like bacon ready to throw them all across the room. The classic pots and pans is actually quite cute, and I don’t mind when he destroys my kitchen. But I truly mean DESTROY! I’m dreading the day when he figures out the fridge door!

It’s tough being a baby when your momma won’t let you swing cast iron pans around.

The only other thing he is obsessed with more is door stops. Yes, door stops. You know those little metal ones that are wound up. He will sit and hit one until it falls off. Then he will stick it in his mouth and crawl around the house like he just found a bone.

You get the point. No toys. Destruction. Cuteness. Overall, it’s a summary of a 1-year old!

But momma needs a break.

The door stops were the inspiration for these boards. Busy boards are truly an inspired work of art. Whomever thought of them originally needs some sort of honorary metal of accomplishment. I love the idea of a board that has normal every day objects that intrigue a child. Instead of destroying the every day objects of the home, the child has their own personalized board of adventure.

The great new is that creating one is fairly cheap and easy to construct. It is easy to customize them to meet the needs of your home and child. My favorite addition to this project was painting them all white. I absolutely hated the idea of having wooden boards with silver hardware attached. It now looks like I have a little modern art in my living room and my little one has something to keep him busy!

Here are some ideas for busy board hardware that you can pick up or ship easily through your local hardware store, or use my Amazon Affiliate links!

We used ½ inch pine boards that were cut into 12×12 pieces. I found that the boards could have ideally been slightly thicker, but the 1/2 inch did work for these purposes.

  1. Wheels
  2. Briefcase Latch
  3. Chain Lock
  4. Barrel Bolt
  5. Door Stops
  6. Small Silver Hinges
  7. Multi-Colored Knobs
  8. Door Knobs
  9. Front Mount Handles

Things I want to add in the future

  1. Multi- Color Zippers 
  2. Learning Gears
  3. Door Knocker

The fun part is figuring out how you want to disperse the hardware to intrigue your child to go to the next item. Busy boards will typically grown with the child. Some items will be too tough for them to figure out when they start out. It will be fun to watch my little one  learn and grow with the boards.

Most of the sensory items on the board have something for the child to move or manipulate, but a few on our boards are simply there for touch. This adds a little higher mental process for the young child to figure out which ones are movable and which ones are not.

Another consideration is whether to sand the edges of the boards down. I decided I liked the crisp edges of the boards and refrained from sanding them down. I will update as we go along if this was a bad idea.

Once I had my boards screwed tightly down, I made one of my classic impatience bad decisions.

Minnesota is currently in the depths of winter. Without a garage there is not real place to spray paint anything. I was getting giddy with excitement to see the project complete, so I didn’t want to use classic paint either. So, I made a bad decision and spray painted in our basement.

Don’t. Ever. Do. That.

I’m pretty sure the smell of spray paint won’t be out of the house until spring.

The good news is that Rust-Oleum 2X Paint + Primer was a land slide victory. It went on even, it dried quickly, and it looks fantastic. There are no peeling area, and it seems quite tough and long lasting.

Regardless, the project is completed and hung under our large living room window. We had to get creative in how to hang the boards as we didn’t want our little one ripping them down.  Honestly, it was one of the most fun parts of the project because WyWy just wated to ‘help’ his daddy the entire time!

It will be fun to watch our little one explore and grow with his busy boards.