Monday, January 1, 2018

13 Elements for the Best Busyboard Your Baby Will Love

I was very happy to make this custom busyboard for a boy named Orest. Even more excited was Orest's auntie, who ordered it. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on the board and swore she is keeping it to herself for at least a week before giving away. 

how to choose the elements for the activity board

I'm so grateful for meeting adults who are sincerely fond of the busyboards. I feel like that's exactly my tribe. Every time it happens, it gives me an enormous boost of inspiration. 

little kid in the playroom with busyboard

Same as every time, I went for the custom designs and got a bit creative with elements. I prefer my busyboards to be something bigger than a set of hardware attached to the wood. I’m always on a lookout for the elements that would be special, whimsical, not like anything that you can see around every day. I believe it kicks the kid's imagination, and also broadens their engineer thinking.

a busyboard developmental toy

I like to puzzle little ones with something they've never seen before, like the Eye Button, little propellers, or this Counting Curtain made of the plastic chain. 

making of activity board

As the named auntie was eager to give her nephew a LARGE busyboard, I opted for a Long Board pattern. I like that layout gets more even that way. Also, several kids can play with it simultaneously, which aids the teamwork skills. I used a similar approach for the Ash and Luca’s Tandem busyboard. 

red and white bright busyboard

The color scheme is my all-time favorite bold red-and-white. It's stimulating, cheerful, and perfectly compliments any interior. It pops up in the playroom, saying: 'Playtime!' It's also an homage to my first Control Panel board. 

sensory board unusual elements

Now to the elements. Let's go through these shiny knick-knacks one by one. 

13 elements that guarantee success to your busy board

elements for sensory board

1. The tube. It amazes the toddlers to the most. Like in the Mario game, they would put their little toys, or cars, or little balls through the top and squeak from joy when they fall out from the bottom. They can do it for thirty minutes in a row, for real. 

bright busyboard for toddler

2. The light switch. Neat and tidy, and easy for the small hands to practice switching on and off, without a need for the whole family to seizure from the light flashes in the living room. 

Bright busyboard elements

3. The button. Pretty simple and obvious, yet the big hit. I always choose the buttons that would be pleasant to touch and make a lovely sound when pushed. As a kinesthetic, I aim for the most satisfying experience. There are buttons that push more satisfying-ly than others, do you agree? 

parts for activity board

4. The concierge bell. Ding! Ding! This one is awesome and deserves to be a centerpiece on any busyboard. It is big, round, loud, mirror-y and looks like a shiny metal boob. A bit tricky to attach, but as I've been using them for a while now, I mastered the process. This bell makes outstanding prop for the Sailing and All-aboard games. Toddlers go crazy about it. 

sensory board how to make

5. The hook. Simple, yet actionable. I was surprised how much the little ones like the opportunity to have a place designed for their stuff. If they have a favorite bag, basket, or a toy guitar, they would eagerly hang it on their busyboard. It adds nicely to the imaginary play. When they pretend the busyboard to be a car or a plane, the hook is like a trunk where they put "luggage".
wheels activity board

6. The wheels. Big ones are mesmerizing and bring momentum. Smaller ones give the distinctive busy looks. Perfect for the little fingers to practice the precision operations. Or, for the little palms to steer them fast, getting a good massage on the way. 

chains activity board for babies

7. The plastic chain Counting Curtain. Making this was fun. I wanted the plastic chains to be something bigger than just an eye candy. I cut the pieces to have a 1-2-3-4-5 ratio of white and red links. Then stenciled the similar numbers to the board. Attaching was a challenge. I installed a couple of massive metal hoops. Kids love grabbing them. Then I attached a rubbery rope, beading the pieces of chain accordingly to the numbers. Voila - this Counting Curtain works like the abacus of a kind. When pulled and released, it jumps and rattles, making the funniest motion.
sensory board best elements
8. The spring door stoppers. No need to introduce these little guys. A huge hit of all times. Boing! Boing! A perfect element. Get a spring stopper on your board, and crack open a bottle of chardonnay - your baby isn't getting anywhere for at least couple of hours. 

elements that baby will love

9. A mirror. Peek-a-boo, baby! This one is a rear-view with a fish-eye, it can be spinned around, and lets your baby see the room behind while playing. A must when playing a driving game.

how to make a sensory board with mirror

10. A door chain. Isn't it lovely? A shiny golden chain to practice the eye-hand coordination by pushing it through the slot. One of my favorite statement pieces on any board, and also can make a cute smile face when attached next to two buttons, like here. 

sensory sound elements activity board

11. A jingle bell. A lovely smaller sound element, that adorns any blank space perfectly. Install several of them to get the Christmas-y feeling on your board. 

sensory board elements

12. The little door. A nod to toddler peek-a-boo obsession. I didn't put the latch on it, because what’s underneath sticks out and wouldn't let the door close properly. But it's so worth it, because underneath there are… 

bright busyboard detail

12a. Googly eyes! Love them. The babies get most excited when they peek under the door and there is someone staring at them. 

fun elements for sensory development

13. The handle. It's highly functional. For the almost-one-year-olds, the busyboard becomes a great training machine for practicing standing skills. The handle helps a lot. They will grab and stand-up confidently while they play. And you will use it more than once to get the board around while installing. 

cool DIY toy for babies
Ta-daaa! It took me several days to make this one, couple hours at a time. Very happy with the layout and with the creative stretch that the Counting Curtain gave me. And look at this excited auntie! 

best sensory board idea

Or, at this very busy boy.

Considering other parts? Feel free to ask, I'll be happy to give you advice on whether it's yay or nay. 

Want a custom board made for a special kiddo in your life? 
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