Busy Board for Toddlers





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.

4 People Made This Project!


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41 Discussions

Hi there, anyone have any advice on how to attach this to a wall (I worry about putting holes in my old walls)? Would you say it's heavy/sturdy enough to lean against a wall? Thanks!

1 reply

Mine wasn't super heavy, but molly bolts work best if hanging from just drywall. This particular wall is all studs, so I didn't have a problem hanging it. If i was worried about wall holes, I would use a hanger system like they use for cabinetry . . . a backer board if you will. Good Luck and hope your little enjoys your board.

This is great for babies. Baby toys are expensive and never been used by the baby.

Try to change the metal ones to plastic, it is just safer.

2 replies

What is the safety concern with the metal items? They are not sharp, or lead. The variety of materials makes it more tactile. The cold feel, the ting sound, the weight; all items on interest to the child. There should be items of wood, plastic, rubber, metal, cloth... all for learning about the world around them.

He can't get them off, "YET".

then again look what website this is at, that might be a good thing.

I don't worry about outlet covers but more about things plugged into outlets as that's how they'll get shocked. When ours was probably a year old and we were at a friends she managed to pull out one of those plugin air stinky things and got herself her first shock. Scary.. not really as I've been shocked many times doing something similar while growing up and getting my fingers too close to the prongs. Needless to say she hasn't gotten shocked since and I've caught her unplugging things only a couple times since and she's more careful about it now that she's had that experience. She's 16 months now.

My 16 month old girl is often in the garage while I work on stuff to include her very own busy board as well as me working on our motorcycles or whathaveyou. I have a pair of ear muffs that I'll put on her if it's going to be something loud. My biggest issue is she never puts stuff back where she finds it so I will occasionally have to search for a screwdriver or tool I was just using. The only thing I keep away from her is the wire strippers as they are sharp, dykes she has played with and even pinched her leg once with them, and she hasn't done that since as she learns..

Hello! Very nice work!

This is my very 1st comment here. I´ve been following Instructables for over 2 years now. Great work!

I made such a board for my daughter about 6 month ago for developing her motor skills. She is now 1Y3M old. It was a success actually, because I have very little experience on such things, but every body loves it, incl. even parents...And it is still working!

I used 12V battery, Finder timer, and lots of switches, Chint and Rockwell pilot lights, LEDs etc. Also some stuff from hardware store. Not all lights are connected to battery.

My mistake was - I did not thought this all process before I actually started to drill holes ))). Also I did not photo the whole process, so no material for real instructable. May be next time!

Let me assure you that all this wires are covered and maximum secured so no little finger gets in. Also I made a strap for caring it.

Right now it is put against baby cot and secured with the strap.

Thank you.

rear view.JPGtimer and accu.JPGpanel front view.JPGpanel rear view.JPGpanel side.JPG
1 reply

Wow, that looks great. Some good ideas I shall incorporate into the one I will build. Thanks to the OP for doing the instructable and sharing it.

It's a great idea and only as unsafe as the person who builds it makes it. I see nothing unsafe in the OP's photos. Helicopter moms are a problem for everybody everywhere - the rest of us will be raising tomorrow's Makers.

My toddler loves it and plays with it daily. He is a VERY active kid and aside from trying to pull things off the board occasionally, this is probably one of the safest things we have in our house.

Sure! Let's teach our toddler how to defeat every childproof device in the house...

Cool concept though. ;-) My mom always said if I learned to put stuff back together, someday I'd make something of myself.

2 replies

I built this board with that fear in mind. Nothing on the board is replicated in my house. We have different light switches. The electrical outlet has the childproof covers, but has also been dismantled on the inside, so even if he was to get it off, the outlet isnt live. I work in consruction and am very aware of cautionary issues. Thanks for the concern. My son loves it.

That was my first thought as well, not to mention encouraging the child to play with an electrical switch. (Which, by the way, happens to be mounted mere INCHES from a live electrical outlet!)