Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Toddler Busy Board

As soon as baby becomes mobile, there’s a mad dash to secure all hazards in the house while providing safe options for play. Instead of breaking the bank with fancy toys, look around for sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes that are all around us.

Enter the "Busy Board." A busy board is a collection of repurposed household items that provide exploration and play for infants and toddlers. A quick google search shows several fantastic inspirations.

Busy Board Google Images Search
Busy Boards can range from simple to very complex projects depending on your construction expertise. They can be fixed to the wall or freestanding. Their fixtures can be permanent or evolving.

I’ll admit that my first attempt at this somewhat failed. When we moved from a tiny dwelling to a larger house that had an entire room dedicated to play, I was ecstatic to build the most amazing busy board wall. As it turns out, “amazing” just meant “huge.” While we did a great job of building the board, we somewhat fizzled at supplying a quality range of items to explore.

Image Source: Ellen
Cue second born child hitting the crawling stage. It’s time to reinvigorate our wall so that she can pull herself up and practice standing while exploring all the wonderful busy wall discoveries. This is the beauty of this project; it’s ever-evolving to suit the needs of your growing children!

Begin by deciding if your board will be small and portable or fixed to the wall. Since ours was installed on the wall, and since I wanted items to be installed in an ongoing manner, I needed to build the board out from the wall with a spacer of 2x4s. Thankfully, Grandpa was visiting and he took it upon himself to get the job started. Normally, we’d have an assortment of wood scraps kicking around to use but since we had just moved, we were fresh out. If you’re working from scraps, you may have less choice in size.

Once our base was installed, we simply began adding items as we found them. Our first stop was raiding our existing stash in the tool room. Next stop, The Reuse Centre! Since then, I’ve simply been adding items as they reveal themselves. It’s amazing to consider everyday household items destined for the trash in a brand new light!
Components of the board. Image Source: Ellen
Image Source: Ellen
My son is working on dressing/undressing himself so I added the button and zipper from an old pair of pants as well as the back pocket. He’s obsessed with the telephone and the calculator—both broken and destined for the trash! Our youngest uses the bottom half to pull herself up and explore the textures, sights, and sounds.

Is your kid a fan of texture? Maybe a budding musician who seeks out sounds? Or a future engineer intent on figuring out tasks of dexterity and skill? What items would your kid love to play with on a busy wall?




- Ellen (Volunteer)

11 comments:

  1. This is brilliant! My kids would love this. Thanks for the ideas!

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    1. Thanks! It's a great centrepiece for play dates! ;)

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  2. Love the idea of a calculator and phone, my son loves buttons. We have a small magnetic white board my son likes and we used some old hinges to create a shutter that has changeable family pictures for a personal touch. Before my daughter becomes mobile I'll have to add some textures for her, plus recharge the flash light my son loved!

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    1. The flashlight is a great addition! And family photos are perfect for long-distance relatives!

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  3. Great idea Ellen. Love the idea of re-using and repurposing items. This is something our last generation did with aplomb but unfortunately has becuase passe in our throw-away society. I think I prefer the term learning board to busy board though!

    Ian.

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    1. You're right, Ian, "busy" has a connotation of just passing time until the bedtime :) I like "learning" board too!

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  4. What a brilliant idea! Thank you for the great article and helpful photos.

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  6. Imagine how much money is saved!The idea of reusing and teaching is awesome! Great read!

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  7. Imagine how much money is saved!The idea of reusing and teaching is awesome! Great read!

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