Busy Board for a Busy Toddler!

My son is like most toddlers, I’m sure….curious about everything and easily distracted.  Anything that catches his eye, he must touch (and often put in his mouth too)….ahhhh, when does this stage end….

Anyway, to help keep him occupied and out of trouble (or trying to get into everything he is not supposed to….over and over again), his Grandpa made him his very own Busy Board!

Now he is happier than a pig in poo playing with this in his room….and Mommy here can relax for a bit without worrying about what he’s getting into.  Here I’ll show you all about our busy board for our busy toddler.

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

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Before I was even pregnant with my son, I was wasting time getting inspiration on Pinterest and came across a pin of a busy board that was full of little gadgets and doohickeys and thingamabobs (yes, I do believe those are the technical terms) that looked like a little boy’s dream toy.  You can find my inspiration here….doesn’t it look like so much fun?  I mean, if you’re only two-feet tall?!

I pinned it on my “For The Future Babies” board and forgot about it….until the babies I was pinning for were no longer “future babies” thanks to Rowan’s arrival.

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

My dad is a construction superintendent and has a garage full of little doodads (another technical term) that he’s collected from job sites over the years.  So, instead of all those freebies continuing to collect dust, I asked the old man if he could create his own version of a busy board, and he spent one weekend creating his masterpiece.

He first painted a board with some yellow paint and then attached various gadgets all over it, using either screws or glue.  Of course, we only included items that were safe for wee ones.

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Grandpa already had most of the gadgets on hand, but some he purchased from the local hardware store or online.  He also included a handle at the top to make it easy to transport (he and Grandma delivered it to Rowan during their visit on Easter).

The pic below details every doohickey, and I did my best at guessing the official terms…..I had no idea how many different types of latches/knobs/hardware thingys there are in this world!

 

The Busy Board for a Busy Toddler

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The Gadgets

  • Sand Paper: Just a disc to a handheld electric sander cut in half and then hot glued to the board.  It gives Rowan a couple nice contrasting textures to explore.
  • Velcro: A strip of heavy duty velcro.  Rowan enjoys the rough texture and also the fun sound it makes when rrrrrripping it off the board!
  • Light Switch: Fun to flip the switch up and down.
  • Costume Ball & Chain: I would have never thought to include this but I think this is Rowan’s favorite part of the board!  It’s from a Halloween costume and the ball easily unhooks from the chain.  Sometimes he is completely content with just playing with the ball on the floor.  Other times, he nixes the ball and is enamored by the chain….or he’ll leave the ball attached and whip it around and bounce it off the wall….anything that makes noise!
  • Swivel Hook: Small and easy to manipulate with little fingers.
  • Electronic Doorbell:  A FAVORITE!!  This plays all kinds of different tunes and melodies….even ‘Jingle Bells’!  It’s easy for Rowan to activate, and he also likes the red lights that flash as the music plays.  Sadly, when the batteries run out, it’s dead since it’s industrial-glued to the board, but for all we know that may be long after Rowan loses interest in the board.
  • Night Latch: Rowan enjoys pulling on the chain more than actually sliding it, but hey, at least it peaks his interest!
  • Zipper: Fun to move up and down and also to feel the little nubs when unzipped.
  • Cabinet Samples: There are two of them here….one opens from the top, the other from the side.  My Pinspiration board had thumbtacks underneath their similar piece, but I was afraid of Rowan’s little fingers prying those loose, so like a cheesy TV gameshow, there’s nothing interesting behind either door.  My dad picked parts for these up at various job sites over the years.
  • Twist Latch: Rowan enjoys swinging it open/closed and twisting the lock.  This gets played with a lot.
  • Door Knob: It doesn’t actually spin, but Rowan still enjoys grabbing onto it.
  • Sliding Latch: Easy to move from side to side.
  • Phone Cord: Another fave: he enjoys pulling and stretching this every which way.
  • Door Knocker: Makes noise, so Rowan likes it.
  • Door Stop:  Another big hit!  He loves the “real life” ones scattered around the house too.
  • Timer: It’s always fun to see Rowan jump when the buzzer goes off. :)  He likes being startled though, so the jump is always followed by giggles.
  • Gate Lock: Easy to manipulate and move.

 

***UPDATE***

Rowan has now had this busy board for about nine months, and I have to say it is STILL a big hit!  It gets played with everyday during playtime in his room….seriously.  Every. Day.  His all-time favorite item is the electronic doorbell, for sure.  He just loves pressing that button and cycling through the different tunes….the boy likes to dance! :)

 

The Busy Board & Its Busy Toddler

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Attaching the Board to the Wall

Here’s a view of the busy board installed in Rowan’s nursery.  We attached it on a blank wall between the door to the bathroom and his dresser with some heavy duty Command velcro strips.  They are very sturdy and even when he stands up and grabs a hold of the handle on top and does his best strongman impression, the board doesn’t even flinch.  (They also work great at holding our family growth chart ruler to the wall!)

Busy Board for a Busy Toddler! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Most days, I shut the door to Rowan’s nursery and relax on the glider while he plays his little heart out, often with this busy board.  It’s amazing how it’s the simplest things that a child finds to be the most interesting.  Grandpa did good with this one. :)

 

More Toddler Fun!

Check out my Project Gallery for lots of more crafty and DIY fun, including kids’ keepsakes, shirts, home decor, and more!

If you’re looking for a way to keep your tiny tot occupied during the holiday season, check out my tutorial for making a toddler felt Christmas tree!

Toddler Christmas Tree Tutorial | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

And my Sticky Window Fun activity is a great (and inexpensive!) way to keep little ones occupied any day!

Toddler Activity: Sticky Window Fun

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky toddler and his mini-me infant brother, and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. I (try to) spend their nap times getting my craft on and I blog about my creations and adventures in parenting at Where The Smiles Have Been. My loves are all things DIY, especially Silhouette projects, wreaths, & personalized decor. And ice cream....definitely love me some ice cream.

Comments

  1. Grandpa Tom says:

    I am looking for ideas for making a busy-board for my new granddaughter (she is 5 months old now) for when she comes to visit over Christmas. She will only be about 10 months old by then. I am worried about how to stand it up and about her getting injured if it falls over on top of her. Any good ideas would be appreciated.

    • Hi Grandpa Tom! We used some heavy duty velcro Command strips. They state that they can hold up to 16 lbs., and we put a few along the top and then a couple on the sides (but left the bottom unattached so the board can be removed from the wall when/if needed). So far they’ve held up great and Rowan hasn’t pulled the board off the wall….he’s now over 3 years old and still plays with it! He’s too busy maneuvering all the attachments and actually playing so there’s not much pulling on the entire board. I hope your granddaughter enjoys her special homemade gift! :)

  2. I love your blog! I’m making one of these this weekend, or at least that’s my plan and this has given me such inspiration! I’m very crafty and love to make things but my little boy is just not quite big enough to play by himself for more than 20 min at a time. So hopefully this can help while I sew for the first time in almost 2 years. I hope one day my humble little blog will be as inspirational as yours.

  3. Love love love this! Stumped on where to get cabinet samples…or did you just make them yourself?

  4. Hi there!
    Love the board. Can you please tell me how you got the light switch to lie flat against the board? Typically they have a electrical box on the back which would cause it to stick out. Help!

  5. I absolutely love this idea. I’m going to make something similar for my little guy. Where did you find the electric doorbell? My son loves music, dancing, and pressing things I think he’d absolutely love that!

  6. I love, love, love your busy board!!! I’m getting ready to make one for my grandsons first birthday. Thank you for your fabulous ideas. Can you please tell me the brand name and/or where you purchased the electronic doorbell. My grandson is mesmerized by sounds and I know he will love it. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  7. I love this activity board! Can you tell me where your father obtained the handle used for the board? I’ve looked at all the home improvement stores in my area and can’t find anything similar. Thanks!

    • Hey there, Millee! I’m so glad to hear you enjoy this! I asked my mom and she said the handle is actually one designed for use on playsets, like this one. She got it from Amazon a couple years ago. Hope this helps! :)

  8. Love this! I am in the process of making one now for our little guy. I am trying to figure out the best way to hang it. I see you used command velcro… how many did it take to hold it up? Any suggestions? My little guy is a monkey so I can just imagine him pulling on everything like crazy!

    • LOL Brandi! I also have a little monkey for a son. ;) I used the heavy duty Command strips, and we put four horizontally across the top. So far they’re working great!

  9. Viviane Nigro says:

    Christine, congratulations!

    You are the best mom of the world, and I am so thankful by all tips that I read on your website!!

    I’m from Brazil, and found here a lot of creativity and ideas that will help me with my son Eric, who will complete a year now in September.

    Thank you so much!

    • Wow Viviane, I think this is the best, kindest, and most awesome comment I could have EVER received! :) THANK YOU so very much for such sweet words! This is why I love blogging so much, and I really appreciate you taking the time to send me such a wonderful note. You just made my day! And happy early birthday to your son! :)

  10. I love this idea! I teach Kindergarten and now I am inspired to make something similar for my students to play with and strengthen their fine motor skills! Thanks for sharing and linking up to Blogger Brags this week! Cheers, Kendra

  11. I luv this!!!!Our local library had a huge board very similiar to this and i loved it!My little one couldnt get enough of it.I want to make one and really like some of the ideas that are on your little guys board!Thanks for sharing,I’m totally inspired to attempt to make this!

  12. Hi, I came across your blog on pinterest and I LOVE this idea. My little guy is always wanting to play with all of these things, so I am excited to make this.

    One question-what is the black border around the wood? I am concerned if I just buy a piece of wood from the store that it will be too sharp or give splinters. what kind of board did you use to make this?

    Thanks!

    • Hey there, Katie! I’m so glad you like this and think your little man will enjoy it too!

      I went back and checked out the board to try and answer your questions. My dad actually made this (and he can’t remember all the details…he’s getting up there in age!) ;), but the board looks to be about 1″ thick….I’m not sure what type of wood it is. It’s just a scrap piece that my dad saved from one of his construction sites….so sorry! I at first thought he had covered the edge with a border of black electrical or duct tape, but it’s actually just paint. The yellow paint is flat and the black border is glossy….my dad just gave the whole surface (edges included) a really good sanding then painted it. I ran my hand over the whole board and don’t have any concerns about splinters.

      Hope this helps! Have fun making your own version!

  13. Just a thought, you could glue some pictures of animals or his favorite characters behind the two cabinet sample “doors,” so there *would* be something interesting to look at it! This is brilliant, my busy little girl might enjoy something similar….Thanks for the inspo!

    • Thanks Rachel! That idea about putting pictures behind those cabinet sample doors is so simple and brilliant (and I’m kicking myself now for not thinking of it myself!). I might even put some pictures of my husband making silly faces….those always garner a hearty chuckle out of my son. :) Thanks so much for stopping by (and giving me a little inspo too!)!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sand paper, zippers, gate locks, velcro and more (from Where the Smiles Have Been) […]

  2. […] Here’s how adorable Rowan was as a nine-month-old last Easter with his bunny ears, matching bow tie, and his two baskets (of course the grandparents were going to spoil him too….they also gave him his busy board!): […]

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