Introduction: Activity Wall for Kids

Picture of Activity Wall for Kids

This Instructable will show you how I made an Activity wall or "Busy Board" for my wife's nursery class.

Kids love to fiddle with things and having a place they can push buttons, turn knobs and spin wheels etc. lets them explore and have fun safely.

After I had finished this and installed it in my wife's class, even the staff couldn't leave it alone!

Step 1: Marking Out and Cutting the Wood

Picture of Marking Out and Cutting the Wood

For this board I used 18mm MDF. It was an off-cut I scrounged from a joiner that had done some work for us.

This measured 1.5m x 2m, but had roughly a quarter missing from one corner, so was "L" shaped.

The space I had to fill was 1.5m x 1.25m, but the board I had wasn't quite big enough to do in one piece, so I decided to make the board wider and taller by making a frame for it.

I measured out a rectangle 1.25m x 75cm and cut it out. I measured out 2 planks 16cm wide and 1.18m long and 2 planks 16cm wide and 1m long. These would make a frame of the correct dimensions.

After cutting all the pieces I used a router to round over the outside edges.

I laid out the pieces to make sure I had got it right!

I glued and screwed the frame together using L brackets on the inside corners.

Step 2: Painting

Picture of Painting

I primed the MDF with a mixture of 50/50 PVA glue and water to seal the boards

I gave both parts 3 coats of bright yellow paint.

When the paint was dry I used some 3" wide black vinyl tape to make the black diagonal stripes. After this I gave the whole lot 2 coats of clear acrylic to seal it all.

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

I screwed the main board to the frame using 35mm screws. I did this from the back to the screws wouldn't be seen.

I then made the "Caution" stickers using the www.Online-sign.com website, printed them out and applied the to the board with PVA glue. I then sealed the paper stickers with clear acrylic spray.

Step 4: Gadgets and Doo-Dads

Picture of Gadgets and Doo-Dads

For the gadgets etc, I just looked around for things I had, in the Pound Shops, or were in the bargain bin in my local DIY store.

The lights at the top are push lights from the pound shop

The roller at the top was salvaged from a laser printer I had taken apart. I covered it in some striped tape and mounted it using 2 L brackets.

The door knocker, door knob, brass sash handle and the draw handle at the bottom was in the bargain bin at B&Q. There are 2 arcade buttons in the middle, one green and one black. I had these already. I also had the light switch in my junk pile.

The square metal plate has 5 headphone jack sockets mounted to it and an old headphone cord is able to be plugged in and out. The metal square on the right has the internals of a wind up torch mounted to it and the crank can be turned to power the 2 push lights at the top. The red electrical knob near the bottom was brand new, but in my junk pile, so got pressed into use. In the centre there is a large circular magnet from an old microwave oven bolted on using a huge washer. A small piece of chain is screw next to it for the kids to stick to the magnet.

The bar draw handle at the bottom has a big nut, an old key, a padlock and a cog on it, that the kids can spin and flick etc.

The rest of the hardware, like the hook and eye, the hinges and slide bolt were from the pound shop.

All the items were either screwed or bolted to the main board to make sure they were fixed well.

Step 5: Mounting

Picture of Mounting

To finish off I mounted the whole board to the back of a cupboard in my wife's class room.

The staff came to inspect and they all had a play! When school opened last week, it was a big hit with the kids too.

The different action that can be done on this board, twist, turn, push, pull, flick roll etc. helps the kids with co-ordination and lets them explore 'real world' things safely.

Comments

VeraG12 made it! (author)2017-04-11

Wow, this one is huge! Using jack sockets is a particularly great idea, thanks for sharing. I've been making busy boards for a while myself. My top tip is - go for bold colors. Also, I love making each board in different concept, though it might be just me :)

Jenga747 (author)2016-06-04

I built one of these and also made an instructables. You are amazing and your son is super lucky. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't the best thing ever. My son learned caution and fine motor skills his peers haven't grasped. He problem solves better as well. This didn't help his already houdini like skills and I used, as I'm sure you did, parts that didnt match those in my home.

tagy66 (author)2015-09-10

I was all for my husband making this for our grandson. The more I thought about it though, I felt like I would be teaching him every escape technique known to man.

tinaciousz (author)2015-09-08

Love it!

Benadski (author)2015-09-07

I like it! Be sure to tell the kids to keep away from those signs, switches and colors in real life though. Else they could be shutting down city blocks some day...

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