As you know as a mother or father, babies and toddlers love everything that moves, makes sounds and feels interesting. Everything has to be tried out. Parents can actively support this research urge by creating their own Activity Board. Through the innumerable design possibilities you can support your child playfully and send him on a fun journey of discovery. Fun guaranteed with this great toy (Also check out my selfmade MP3-Player for kids)!
Table of contents:
- Building a Activityboard for children
- Step 1 - Activity Board - Baseplate
- Step - Busyboard - Light switches and LEDs
- Step 3 - Activity Board - Screw on everything you want
- Activity Board - Busyboard - expansion stage 2 - Video
Building a Activityboard for children
A relatively simple example for an ActivityBoard (which is sometimes called Busyboard), I would here like to present as an idea and inspiration for your own project. Since I have underestimated how complex a step by step documentation is, I will only explain the main steps here and give a short explanation what to do to keep the text size of this article at least a little bit limited. 🙂
First of all, before building an activity board, I would advise everyone to look around in their apartment and basement for usable things. Because not all components have to come from the DIY store. In principle you can use anything and screw it to the Activityboard that has neither sharp edges nor other potential dangers, such as easily swallowed loose small parts. Locks or padlocks, old cream cans that can be turned on and off, shoelaces, rollers e.g. from old office chairs, light switches that are no longer needed, small door hinges, nail brushes, hand brushes, knobs and other handles from drawers or cupboards, poplar plywood (4mm thick) to build small doors or windows on, waste from the kitchen worktop and and and and...
This list could be continued indefinitely, but let's leave that at this point. Anything that is fun and not a potential source of danger is allowed and available in the household anyway. The one or other idea comes surely also still while one tinkers with this child toy.
The tools and accessories you need to build the Activity Board are as follows in my case: Drilling machine, milling attachment, hot glue gun, screwdriver or cordless screwdriver, a jigsaw incl. saw blades as well as coarse and fine sandpaper. If you want to integrate some colorful light in form of a traffic light you should have a soldering iron, soldering tin, some cable, a light switch (surface mount), 1k Ohm resistor, 3 LEDs (red, yellow, green) as well as a 9V battery within reach.
In addition you need wood glue, wood dowels, wood screws from the hardware store, as well as paints and varnishes which are naturally suitable for children and children's rooms. In particular with the colors, glue and lacquers absolutely catch up advice with the respective specialist dealer!
Step 1 - Activity Board - Baseplate
Since I found a rectangular plate a bit boring, I used a pen more or less arbitrarily to draw in a curved shape that was supposed to remind me of a cloud. I cut out this shape with a jigsaw. Afterwards I sanded the plate well, first with coarse, then with fine sandpaper.
After this step all unevenness should be removed and edges smoothed. If you want, you can paint or varnish the base plate for the Activityboard. In my case i left this real wood worktop completely untreated.
Step - Busyboard - Light switches and LEDs
I led the LED lights through drilled holes to the front, and covered them with poplar plywood and 3 plastic closures, so that a nice traffic light was created.
The cables for the light switch I also led through holes to the front and screwed the light switch to it.
Step 3 - Activity Board - Screw on everything you want
In the third and last step you can screw on everything that has in utensils there. For example, I sawed a small poplar plywood door, fixed it with 2 hinges, screwed a wooden doorknob to it, and completed it with a small buckle on the other side. If you open the little door now, there is a picture of our family behind it. There are no limits to imagination and ingenuity.
I made a simple mechanism out of two gear wheels from an old document shredder and some wood and shoelaces, with which one can let a small skydiver figure up and down. That was a bit patchy because I had to drill the holes of the gearwheels so that the threaded screws in the middle of each gearwheel fit through... Also the construction of the wooden crank was not very easy, but with some trying it works. By the way - It is essential that the gear wheels are placed in washing-up liquid before installation or in the dishwasher once for a short programme to remove any grease residues and lubricants.
In addition, it is advisable to mount a kind of covering over the gear wheels and at the same time a viewing window so that the child cannot squeeze his fingers while playing. Here I simply screwed an old transparent plastic container over it bottom up. So you can see the gears turning, but you can't reach into them.
Last but not least one screws diligently this and that to the Activityboard, hand brushes, brushes, mirrors, different wooden blocks covered with leather and different fabrics, for example, so that the little person can not only see but also feel all sorts of things. Hinges, padlocks and funny wooden shapes. I sawed out a little piglet and rings from wood and fixed them to the board with wooden dowels and glue.
My Activity Board looked like this when I wrote this article - in the meantime it has changed a bit. Update to follow...
After everything has been varnished and dried, screwed on and fastened, if necessary, shake each individual part again whether it remains in its place and is stable enough. But then nothing stands in the way of a fun game, and the discovery tour for the little ones can begin!
So let yourself be inspired! Have fun building your individually designed Activity Board for your offspring. 🙂 You can also comment this post or send me your project ideas, photos and descriptions to share with other parents and do-it-yourselfers.
Activity Board - Busyboard - expansion stage 2 - Video
A short video during the construction phase of my activity board showing some functions of the toy. I hope you like it! 🙂
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