How to make a busy-board? Besides having few tools and some supplies - which helps - you also need a certain mindset. You can achieve it. Shift your view from adult perception to childish desire to fool around with things.
Try to remember what you messed around with most when you were a toddler. Did you turn off the light in WC all the time? Locked up anyone outdoor in freezing cold? Pulled the rotary phone off the hallway table? Let's refresh these emotions.
A great way to find inspiration for DIY toys is children museums. Oversized objects and tactile experiences bring the childhood vibe back. Skip the science and go straight to interactive play installations. Yes, usually it’s gears and wheels and construction blocks, but quite often they do get more creative. Let me share with you some of my favorite ideas.
Sky Villages by James Paulius for Brooklyn Children's Museum. A great idea on the intersection of interactive installation and building blocks. And clouds, of course, that’s exactly why it’s N1 on my list.
Image credit: James Paulius
A Cork Pixel Wall by Tali Buchler for Community Center in Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Nothing new about using cardboard and wine corks. But Tali did a great job by creating a unified space with holistic and stylish experience.
Image credit: Nirit Gur-Karby
The Journey of Chinese Characters at the Beijing World Art Museum. I love how this installation is so visual and stuffed with knowledge. And still on the fun side thanks to an abundance of the hands-on elements. It’s worth going all the way to Beijing!
Image credit: 2x4 Inc
Circle-shaped rooftop playground of the Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo. This concept is perfect. How do you get the kid not to run away from you? You don’t. You loop the runway and stand there sipping your green tea while the kids are trotting by again and again. Genius!
Image credit: TED
Obliteration Room by Yayoi Kusama - now on display in Singapore National Gallery. A marvelous piece. I adore how Madame Kusama found a way to document the transforming magic of children’s touch. A new challenge for me. I'd love to incorporate some elements with a similar effect into busy-boards. Gotta brainstorm about it!
Image credit: The Art Elephant
So, how to get inspired? Consider your upcoming busy-board your kid's own private interactive installation. And now, do your best! Try experimenting with shapes, sounds, forms, textures, materials, kinetics and visuals. Maybe, you'd like to make it all black-and-white for your baby. Maybe you'd like to include more fun faces for the emotional development. By the way, you can make great faces on busy-boards. Try combining door-chain and two rollers - check this Princess board to get the idea. Also, you can set a whole area of your busy-board for magnets, stickers, or include a lego base sheet. Embrace the endless opportunities!
Do your local children museum has an installation you and your kids enjoy? Feel free to share in the comments section - that’s where ideas are born!