Friday, January 26, 2018

How To Place Your New Busyboard Safely

So, you've got (or, you've made) a shiny gigantic busyboard. Congrats! Let's see, where do you put it?

a collage with various placements of activity boards

Busyboards are a great addition to any house. I installed quite a few of them in the renovated playrooms, as well as in the rented apartments. They change the atmosphere drastically. 

Any space will benefit from such a bright, fun, nicely designed big object. It’s like bringing a huge piece of modern art in your house. Think Takashi Murakami paintings or the Jeff Koons sculptures  - when it’s big and colorful, you just can’t hold your dopamine from kicking in. 

Now, where do you put a busyboard? I'm glad you asked. 

What area is best for the busyboard?

First, decide what area will work best for you. If your baby is 6-12 months old, then placing the busyboard somewhere where you can keep an eye on her would be a good idea. I mounted the first board for my one-year-old between the kitchen and the hallway. This is a popular option. Below is a post from another mom, who chose the same placement. 

Put the board somewhere in the view of your favorite coffee spot, so you can enjoy your relaxed moments and watch the baby play. You don’t want to miss all the fun that inevitably comes when you give a door spring to a toddler. 

If your kid is big enough to play on his own, then nursery or playroom would be a perfect option. 

bright baby activity toy in white nurserytoy for active toddler that keeps them busy

baby activity toy on the crib
Photo: It's Leigh
activity toys in a big room
Photo: AllThingsKatieMarie

I ran across several posts across the web where people even place it in the living room. It does look very nice since the busyboard adds a perfect warming splash of color and fun to any room. Just make sure that the kiddo will not be in the way, and that the doors or furnitures are not too close. 

diy sensory board mounted on the wall
Photo: OurHomegrownSpud

Outdoor is nice, too - think backyard or porch. It will limit the busyboard usage to the warm season only, however, depending on your area it can be year-round. 

baby playing with sensory board on the porch in the sunlight

girl playong outdoor with a sensory board
Photo: TheArtGarden
Now you have to decide what mounting option is the best for you and safest for your child. As the busyboard has its specifics - this toy is quite heavy - it needs a proper installation that will provide safety and convenience for the little user. 

Which way to put a busyboard is safest?

1. Put it down on the floor - OK

playing with sensory toy for 1 year old baby

girl playing with a bright activity board on the floor
Photo: DIYPassion
Can work for the little babies, who are not standing yet. Do it if you have a heavy board, the one that baby cannot drag all over the place. While allowable, this option requires you keep a close eye on the play. Horizontal surface brings in a special fun. Kids tend to pull in other toys, from cars to dolls, to add to the busyboard. It turns into an amazing obstacle course for the matchbox cars. The smaller action figures find their way through the labyrinth of parts.

little boy on the floor playing with activity board

Emir was mesmerized with the little platform on the piano hinge that I made the other day. He took a little man and he was getting this tiny 'door' open and close, open and close for 30 minutes in a row. Guess I missed the perfect opportunity to teach him some foolproof knock-knock jokes.

2. Lean it against the wall - CAUTION!

dad and son playing with activity board

Only allowable if the parent is around, and make sure to secure it at least somehow. Put it on a big pillow, for instance. 
baby exploring the sensory board for infants

It is usually the temporary method that parents use before they mount the board to the wall. Even if it's the case, baby only should play under your full control. In between the sessions, put the board securely away. 

The free-roaming busyboards, not anchored to anything, have just one benefit - mobility. So, when your kid builds a fort or a spaceship, he can grab the board and make it a control panel or a dungeon door. However, if your baby is still far from building forts, unmounted busyboards are not recommended. 

a small sensory board for toddlers

If you want to have a piece that can be moved around easily and safely, go for making a smaller travel version. 

3. Make it stand - OK

There are several options that let busyboard stand on its own. 

One is making a very sturdy heavy base to keep the board upright. Like here. 

man making a sensory board
Source: Matthighlively
While it looks very secure, I believe it weighs a ton. It also eats up a chunk of the floor space. 

Another option is making a double-sided board, that unfolds like a book and has small hooks installed on the sides to keep it open.

homemade toddler activity board
Photo: TableAndHearth
This is a good solution. Just keep in mind that it still can flip over. Also, you'll need to store it somewhere.

a sensory board for baby stored under the crib
Photo: TableAndHearth

I love this option for the additional fun. Imagine building a train tunnel through this Busy Mountain. Choo choo! 

All stand-alone options have one minus in my opinion, which is taking a LOT of your floor space. If your place allows - go for it. Just make sure your baby has several free square feet around for comfortable play.  

4. Mount it to the wall - THE WINNER!

a wooden sensory board mounted on the wall with baby standing next to it
Photo: ACountryPile

It is the best, safest, most convenient way. I am adamant about it. 

one year old boy playing with a red-and-white sensory board

It is comfortable to play with, and it doesn't clutter the house. It adds the perfect accent to the interior, and as safe as Dwayne Johnson. It stimulates your baby’s gross motor skills by encouraging longer stand-up sessions.  

The only requirement is a good power drill it if you have concrete walls. If they're wooden, a simple hammer will do. This solution will last forever and you will never regret it. 

You should see me when I deliver the orders, with a busyboard in one hand and a huge heavy-duty power drill case in the other. That's my favorite part of the job! 

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