THE MOTHER OF ALL DIY TOYS: THE TODDLER BUSY BOARD.
I’m pretty sure the dawn of Pinterest was the dawn of the Toddler Busy Board. At least, it feels that way to me. There are so many amazing busy board ideas on Pinterest, like Nova’s board or Rowan’s board, and my husband and I were all for jumping on that bandwagon.
Busy boards are just so cool!
They’re an awesome DIY toy perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, parents in their thirties… We made this board almost two years ago and it is still the most played with toy at our house by all the little ones who visit. It’s pretty much Hansel: it’s so hot right now.
Our busy board is especially unique because of the peek-a-boo learning feature. It takes it up a notch and gives it a little something special (obviously, in my humble opinion).
THE “HOW TO” OF OUR TODDLER BUSY BOARD
Materials for a Board
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- 2 large plywood boards (one thick, one thin)
- Various door locks
- Combination lock
- Hose faucet
- Toggle switch
- Rope and pulley
- Light switch
- Caster wheel
- Utility chain
- Various screws
The materials list for a busy board can go on and on (and on and on). But mostly, they’re up to your imagination and what your tot might want to play with. My husband and I headed down to the hardware store and let our minds wander. Two years later and there’s nothing we would change.
MAKE YOUR TODDLER BUSY BOARD “PEEK-A-BOO”
What makes our board just a little different is that the doors open to reveal photos. We loved the idea of the boards we saw on Pinterest, but wanted the locks and doors to be functional and have purpose.
To do this, my husband used two pieces of plywood, one thick and one thin. The thick board is the top layer. In that piece, he cut out the doors using a router then attached a thin piece of plywood to the back using screws.
I added photos using double sided tape as a way to teach our kids the names and faces of extended family members. “Go find Grandma!” Watching those little brains work to remember which door and which face is priceless.
Oh let me tell you, the kids just love this board! They (2.5 yrs and 14 months) love opening the doors and twisting the hose faucet on and off. They each can sit here for “hours” and play (hours in toddler terms is 10-20 minutes).
The caster wheel is a huge hit to spin as are both switches.
We attached red string to the rope so they could see the pulley looping it around and around.
On the back of the lock is the combination because we’re too old to remember it. Sometimes the kids like it on, sometimes they want it on and off to twist in hand.
Unlocking the doors has proven to be the best challenge over the years. At 2.5, my son is a pro! At 14 months, my daughter does best with unlocked doors to open. Still plenty challenging!
The random chain has been the best noise maker – we always hear lots of fun music coming from it!
I love the “maze” the best. After screwing on the back thinner board, my husband carved out a maze with his router and added carriage bolts. The bolts don’t come out, but the kids have fun tracing the pathway. So does Mom.
Building a toddler busy board is one of the best DIY projects we’ve done and I’m so happy we have it. I can’t imagine ever getting rid of this! It has “future grandkids” written all over it. The added element of being a peek-a-boo toddler busy board makes it just a little more special.
WOULD YOUR FAMILY LOVE A TODDLER BUSY BOARD?