Does your busy toddler keep touching things and gadgets they aren’t supposed to? If you want to keep them away from these hazards while keeping them entertained, why not make a DIY busy board for them instead?
A DIY busy board can let your kid experience playing with everyday objects and different textures in a safe and controlled way. Busy boards are fun for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, and they are also great learning toys. Learn how to make a busy board from everyday items, like junk mail and sticky notes.
How To Make Your Own DIY Busy Board
The best thing about DIY toddler busy boards is that they’re really easy to make, and you can be as creative as you want. As the name suggests, busy boards have a base made of a board. This is often made of wood, like a plywood board. A piece of cardboard won’t always work as busy boards should be able to withstand the pulling and beating your child does when they get excited.
Here are other things you need:
- Power tools like a drill bit
- Different items for busy board activities
As you can see, these are things that are probably lying around your house, or those you can pick up at your local hardware store. For the activity board itself, you can include different items, from light switches to knobs! Using your power tools, secure or bolt these items onto the board. The heavier the items, the thicker your board should be to make sure they don’t get easily ripped away.
Busy boards can also be made of other materials, like an easel. If you’re not comfortable using heavy or metallic materials, you can always make soft busy boards from fabric and fasten items such as velcro, zippers, and buttons.
Busy boards are generally safe for kids six months and up. Aside from acting as a sensory board, busy boards can also help kids develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Hands on as We Grow also has an easy-to-follow tutorial on making a DIY busy board that really entertains.
37 Busy Board Ideas Your Kids and Toddlers Will Love
Busy board ideas are everywhere on Etsy, Pinterest, and various other websites. You can purchase pre-made busy boards where they’re available, but it’s even more fun when you get to make and customize your own. Here are 37 of the best busy boards ideas that are easy to make and could inspire your own:
Unique and Themed Busy Boards
- Motherhood and Other Adventures has a pretty unique peek-a-boo sensory board that’s both fun and creative. This genius idea uses old baby wipes containers wherein the flaps open to reveal different textures and colors.
- If you’re a car enthusiast, this upcycled car dashboard from And Next Comes L is the perfect way to breathe new life to old steering wheels, handles, and speedometers!
- Got a few family photos lying around? This peek-a-boo family photo busy board from Happily Ever Mom is enjoyable as it is educational.
- Smart Baby Board sells this amazing house-shaped busy board that packs lots of fun activities, including jigsaw puzzles!
- This animal busy board from Fox Family Boutique has a great theme to follow and is ready for purchase on Amazon.
- Speaking of animals, this peek-a-boo busy board from Toddler Approved also features zoo animals under felt flaps.
- Hello Wonderful’s ocean busy board mixes underwater themes with various activities that can keep your kid busy.
- This busy board idea from Bumblebee Smart also doubles as wall decor for your kid’s room.
- Easy Busy Boards has an aviator-themed busy board that lets your child play with tiny rudders, controls, and other items.
- Another one from Easy Busy Boards is a sky-themed busy board that includes lids, fabric, and other hardware.
- This space-themed busy board from Etsy is out of this world!
- Housebound with Kids has an interesting dinosaur-themed busy board that includes a mobile phone, calculator, chains, and an intercom. If you don’t have an old mobile phone, swap it out for a remote control!
- This large DIY busy board from Lady Goats can keep several kids entertained in a garage converted into a playroom.
- The Chaos and the Clutter has an entire sensory wall and not just a board.
- Let your kids zip away with this easy DIY busy board from Laughing Kids Learn!
- Little Learning Club’s zipper board is super cheap and super quick to make!
- This zipper board from Learning 4 Kids is perfect for both the playroom and the classroom.
- This lock-and-latches board from Running from the Law requires some handyman skills, but it’s worth a shot!
- All for the Boys has busy boards that can catch the attention of kids who are obsessed with combination locks, hooks, latches, handles, switches, hinges, door knobs, pulleys, and other metallic objects.
- Pallets and Paint uses an easel for a base for its lock-and-latch board.
- This one from Dunn Lumber even has a faucet!
- Something Turquoise has a pastel hardware board girls will love!
- Craft Her Way makes a lock-and-latch board with extra fixtures like magnets, a magnifying glass, and a turning wheel.
- Young House Love has a smaller board that will work well as a gift.
Dollar-Store Busy Boards
- This thrift store wonder from Fun at Home with Kids uses embroidery hoops and various fabrics.
- The DIY Mama’s busy board features an old calculator, keyboard, carabiners, handles, door stops, and a host of other dollar-store items.
- This one from Reno Dads has some interesting things you can find in your garage.
Soft Busy Boards
- Lisa Shunk’s soft busy board is not only made of leftover fabrics — it’s also pretty cute!
- This soft busy board that can be bought from La La Llama even teaches kids how to dress themselves.
- This wool felt board that can be purchased from Han-mm will complete your junior traveller’s ensemble!
- Buggy and Buddy’s tutorial on making a DIY felt board is a handy starting point for soft busy boards.
- Today I Felt Crafty’s rainbow busy board can color your child’s world with its assortment of buttons and beads.
Peg Busy Boards
- Let your toddler choose which items to put on their peg busy board with My Mini Adventurer’s easy tutorial.
- Turn this IKEA storage solution into your very own DIY busy board frame with Kingdom Playroom’s list of ideas for peg busy boards.
- Got a donut wall from last year’s party? Lil House has a few ideas on how to turn this into a peg busy board.
- The OT Mama’s sensory peg board includes tons of recycled stuff your kids will enjoy tinkering with.
- This peg busy board from We Are Still Friends doubles as a nifty table!
Keep ‘Em Busy
A DIY busy board can serve as an educational but fun toy that helps develop your kids’ life skills and sensory awareness. You can use anything, from lids to cables — just make sure you secure each item with screws or really strong gorilla glue. If you’re fresh out of ideas for kids’ Christmas gifts, busy boards will do the trick!