Toddlers are curious and innovative, but not always compassionate. Introducing a DIY activity board that teaches children the importance of giving back to those in need is an easy way for parents to teach their kids about social responsibility without them realizing it yet.
The “diy busy board for 2 year old” is a DIY activity that can be made by using a piece of wood, some screws and nails. The activity board can be used to teach toddlers how to count, draw shapes and even learn colors.
When it came time to buy our son Graham his first birthday gift, my wife and I struggled to come up with ideas. Anything with buttons, doors, cutlery, dad’s tools, and so on is his favorite. Basically, everything except the pricey toys that many parents give their children on their birthdays.
So we took the DIY way and arranged all of his favorite items on a wooden activity board for him to enjoy. While there are commercially made copies of this, they are quite costly (costing $100 or more). You can make your own for a fraction of the price and tailor it to your toddler’s preferences.
The supplies cost me about $20 in total, and after just a few hours of effort, I had a nice-looking (and entertaining!) activity board that our kid enjoys and plays with every day.
I’ll guide you through the supplies and techniques for making one for your child or as a present for new parents in the video below.
- 1 project board/plywood piece I utilized a 1.5′ x 3′ piece that I purchased as-is at Lowe’s since it seemed like the right size. You might alternatively purchase plywood and trim it to the size you want. Anything with a surface area of 3 to 4 square feet would suffice.
- Hardware. It’s expensive to buy new gear, particularly when it’s simply for a toddler to play with. So I went to the ReStore of Habitat for Humanity. Everything is salvaged, much of it from old building sites or donations, so it’s all extremely cheap. Goodwill or other thrift shops are further alternatives. Of course, you may also purchase new gear. Below are some more suggestions on what to purchase.
- Fun Stuff/Other Toys What are some of your toddler’s favorite things? Mine is now obsessed with light switches, television remotes, and strange kitchen items. So I went around the house and garage looking for extras of everything and taped them on the activity board. Allow your toddler’s interests to lead you in this activity.
- Attachment Devices/Screws If you purchase new hardware, it will almost certainly come with screws. If you purchase items secondhand, you’ll either need screws from around the home (the shorter the better to avoid going through the back of the wood) or you’ll have to buy some. To connect odd items, I used a hook and a couple of velcro strips.
- Pads made of felt. We just lean the board against the wall rather than securing it permanently, so I added some felt pads on the back to prevent it from scratching our walls. (Don’t worry; it’s hefty enough that it doesn’t topple over.) If you prefer to fasten it, you’ll also need screws or anchors.
How to Make Your Toddler’s Activity Board
1. Put together your hardware/toys
I had a few criterion in mind while looking for gear that Graham would like playing with. I needed pieces that would sit flat against a board, which ruled out a lot of possibilities. I definitely sought for items that didn’t have sharp edges or pop-out screws. I was also on the lookout for items with movement or hinges that Graham would love messing with. I purchased the following items:
- Locks of several types: hasps, chains, and barrel bolts
- Stoppers for doors (the spring kind that wobble)
- Handles/knobs (Note that they didn’t make it onto the board; more on that later)
- Wheels (which were too unclean to be utilized because they were too dirty to clean)
- Much, much more! (I have no clue what that gray item with the two poles is, but it looked interesting)
Use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Consider how it would sit on a board and how your child might engage with it while you stroll through the aisles of whichever shop you’re at. As previously said, I ransacked the home for a few additional items that I knew Graham would like.
2. Thoroughly clean the hardware
You’ll want to clean your hardware thoroughly, especially if you bought it secondhand. Your toddler’s hands and, more than likely, his lips will be all over it. Fill your sink halfway with extremely hot water and a powerful cleaning solution, toss in all of the hardware, and soak for 15 to 30 minutes. After soaking, clean and rinse each item well before laying it out to dry.
3. Make a plan for the board’s layout.
When your hardware is clean and ready, put it down on the board to see how it looks and functions. Start screwing everything down if everything looks good!
4. Always be ready to troubleshoot.
When I discovered I had screwed down quite a few pieces, I recognized I needed to make some adjustments. First, I had to replace a pair of screws that ran through the rear of the board with shorter ones. Also, once Graham came over and played with it for a while, I found he wasn’t interested in any of the gear that didn’t have moving parts. So I ditched the handles/knobs and created place for the other knickknacks like the TV remote, light switch, and so on. Be open to change your mind about the project as you go along!
5. When you’re done, sit back and let your toddler play!
I attached the TV remote and light switch with velcro strips, and the kitchen measuring spoons with a hook. A little purple knob that screws in and out of its base was also connected. That’s all there is to it! Attach your felt pads to the back and you’re done! Allow your child to have fun!
The “homemade busy board” is a DIY activity board for toddlers. It includes three different activities that can be used to keep them busy, and also has a storage compartment in the back of it.
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