Introduction: Busy Board for Toddlers
I decided to make this board for my son. He is VERY active and loves to get into anything and everything. He needs to be busy all the time. Since we live in a small ~500 Sq ft home, I wanted something that could be used over and over, plus offer a wide range of sensory/play activities.
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 hardware store to see what was available and to price out items. Then I went through my garage to see what I already had in crafting and other supplies. I found a great roll of 2" wide vinyl tape as shown above. I used a 2'x4' piece of 1/2" plywood and covered it with the tape. This took a while and lining up the tape to make it look like this was a bit of a challenge. As long as you don't look to closely, it looks like straight lines, but I'll be honest, it is less than perfect. After covering the board, collect up your hardware and crafting supplies.
Step 2: Head to the Hardware Store
After checking out what you already have, head to the hardware store and go nuts. I bought things like chain locks, plastic tube, chain, sponges, castors, and brushes. I already had the zipper, Velcro, the knob and small wood pieces, light switch box, fringe, and used keys. I came home with all my purchases and started laying everything out. I used 1/2" and 5/8" screws to attach everything to the board and I pre-drilled holes to make sure my items attached properly. I did find that some of the items I purchased didn't work with the board. Also hot glue is handy for attaching things like the plastic tube.
Step 3: Mount It to the Wall and Wait for Playtime to Begin.
This activity board includes a door he can lift, which I put found items from the yard in to surprise him when he opens it, keys/beads on a string, a light switch, a clear plastic tube with a bin at the bottom that he can put pom-poms through, a wood piece that is Velcro-ed to the board that he can remove, a zipper element that has blue and yellow felt on each side - which opens to green underneath, as well as sensory items like scrubby sponges and brushes. My son loves this board and I mounted it at his height to he can get maximum use out of it.
Please note: keep track of small parts as you work, so you don't leave little bits behind that small people can choke on. Also, having said toddler around while trying to build the board or mount it on the wall is a huge distractor. Lastly, I only used hardware that I did not have installed anywhere in my house. I didn't want my son to start practicing anywhere else in the house for at least a while longer.
The total cost of the project was about $100.00 but could be done a lot cheaper if I had scavenged used hardware instead of buying new.