I came across the idea of a busy board one day on Pinterest. In short, what I saw was different things for a toddler to play with on a board, such as door latches, zippers, velcro, etc. It seemed like a great idea and an easy project for my husband and me to tackle! We did end up making two boards (one for each toddler) that were virtually identical except for colors and slight differences on the layout. I am going to break down element by element how we ended up constructing it and how the toddlers liked it!
Tools We Used
I will admit, using power tools scared me a bit on this project. Prior to the project, I had a little bit of experience with drills, but that was about it. That said, I wanted to use tools that were fairly easy to use.
We used the drill to make holes where we needed them and also to add screws where needed.
We got one big board and had to cut it in half to make two smaller boards. This was much easier than having to saw by hand!
Coming from a family of computer techs, the first time I heard this term, I thought this had something to do with Wi-Fi. In terms of woodworking, a router can cut and smooth out edges. Different attachments can make different designs. The boards were so much prettier than just plain slabs of wood after using a router!
We wanted the boards to be a pretty color! We used two coats of paint on all wooden surfaces.
This is something that I ran across while researching busy boards. In short, it can be used as a non-toxic top coat and also as an adhesive. There were stickers and glitter that we put on the board that we painted over with the Mod Podge. It made those materials a little more flush to the boards they were on so little hands couldn’t pull them off!
This was one thing that inspired the busy boards in the first place. Our babies loved zippers, especially when getting into their pajamas at night.
Velcro was another thing that inspired the busy boards. The particular velcro we used is a single double-sided strip with one side being coarse and the other side being soft.
This is what we used to attach the zipper and velcro to the board. We were able to do this by hand, but it may be easier to use a rubber mallet or hammer in some cases.
The particular door knobs we used on our boards were dummy knobs that actually don’t turn. It came in three pieces and just needed to be screwed on the surface.
These actually turned out to be the big winners of the boards! This was the first thing that both Elle and June gravitated toward. Even when the boards are sitting in the hallway while not in use, Elle and June like to run by the boards and tap the lights!
The particular kind we used could be screwed on the board. This also is pretty self-explanatory for the use — Elle and June like the noise the chain makes for now, but they can work on their coordination later on when attaching and detaching the chain.
This is what we used on the little doors on each board. We used a traditional handle for one door and a knob for the other. We used the drill to attach them to each door.
Key with Carabiner
We just got some pretty uncut keys from the hardware store. The carabiners that we used have a screw closure so we don’t have to worry about anything breaking or pinching fingers.
Elle and June love their busy boards! The biggest winner of all is the tap lights. They love doing “drive-bys” when running down the hall where we keep the busy boards. We left enough space between some of the elements to add more in the future. We hope to find fidget spinners that are toddler-appropriate and possibly cheap calculators so they have buttons to push.
Let me know if you’ve made your own busy boards. I would love to see them!