Make a Busy Board for Your Baby

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Babies and young toddlers are, you know, kind of hard to occupy. At the beginning, they mostly just lie around. But once they’re able to sit up, crawl and then toddle unsteadily about, they’re on a mission to do something and touch everything.

However many toys you have, it’s not enough. The dog’s water dish, the dirt in the potted plant and the burnt wood in the fireplace—these are what they’re after. They crave the feel not just of plush toys but of everything. And they should; they learn so much about the world around them through touch. So the more textures we can (safely) offer them, the less they may feel the urge to bang their hand on the glass cabinet door.

This is why you should make your baby a “busy board.”

Busy boards are like sensory bins for toddlers and preschoolers—except everything is glued or screwed into place so they don’t willy-nilly start swallowing handfuls of things. You can keep it pretty basic, with items you already have around the home. Or you can go all-out with supplies from your local hardware shop. You’re limited only by your own imagination (or your ability to search on Pinterest).

You can use a piece of smooth wood, as pictured above. Even a sturdy piece of cardboard will do. On that board, you can mount anything you like (make sure it’s not too sharp or pointy or could be pulled off and swallowed). Here are some ideas:

  • Zippers
  • Ribbons
  • Buckles
  • Anything with buttons
  • Fabrics with different textures
  • Squeaky toys
  • Door knockers
  • Chain locks
  • Small carpet squares
  • Fidget spinners
  • Small steering wheels

Hands On As We Grow has a great tutorial if you need more inspiration. Of course, if you like the idea but don’t want to make your own, you can also buy them; they range from fairly affordable to pretty pricey. This one in particular looks to be pretty compact and lightweight, which would make it a good option for when you’re traveling and baby wants to examine every inch of the germy airplane or hotel room.


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