Mother and Baby

How to build a busy board for your toddler

Section: Toys & Education
toddler busy board

Whether you have a busy 10-month-old who’s on the move, a 1-year-old who’s just started walking or a 2-year-old fully exploring every crevasse of your house, toddler busy boards are a great way to help your child learn through play.

Toddler busy boards incorporate bits and bobs you have lying around the house into one place, ensuring your little one is playing safely and touching household items they think they aren’t allowed to touch. Saves them grabbing for that remote or shoe lying around again, right?

Toddler busy boards can also be known as sensory boards, fidget boards, activity boards or as Montessori educational toys and range for children anywhere between the age of 6 months to 3 years old.

Video: How to create your own toddler busy board

To get you started we’ve got 12 everyday items you can add to a board to create your own today.

  • Old toys
  • Whisk
  • Drawer handles
  • Bells and rope
  • Wooden letters of their name
  • Velcro
  • Zips
  • Ribbons
  • Locks
  • Light switches
  • Old clothes
  • Large beads

Benefits to getting your toddler engaging with a busy board

Toddler busy boards are motor skill activity centers which encourage babies and young toddlers to learn through play with items like zips, handles, wheels, string, latches and much more.

Developing your baby’s gross motor skills is really important and from the moment they hit 6/7 months old you may be starting to think about how you can help encourage your child to sit up, crawl and even walk.

Babies develop at different rates, so check out our article about the different motor skill stages here.

Baby busy boards are an extension of treasure baskets

If you’ve gone to antenatal classes you’ll know that creating treasure baskets for your child is important to help encourage sensory play. Midwives and health visitors can give you lots of advice on where to start, but essentially they are baskets filled with wooden spoons, metal colanders, foil sensory blankets and much more so even when your baby isn’t on the move, they can reach out and start playing with different textures and items.

And if you simply don’t have time to make a busy boards for your tot, here are some you can buy:

We love the theme of this board - let your little one choose which sections of the board to play with and develop their fine motor skills. 

This cool little board is powered with AA batteries and was designed by a parent who's son loved to play with light switches.

This is a great basic version of a busy board. Affordable and durable, it's a classic learning toy that'll endure.

This busy board is super lightweight and portable - perfect for long car journeys or taking out and about to fend off tantrums or boredom. 

This classic wooden board will help your little one develop motor skills as well as recognise different colours, numbers, animals and more.

This one's more of an investment, but for endless fun and exploration this mega-busy board would be perfect.

This busy board is great for children age 3 and up, and has great potential to help your child develop more complex motor skills and colour recognition.

This busy board is another great felt otpion, perfect for both at home and out and about. This one also has a one year assurance, speaking to this board's great quality.

We love the unique design of this busy board, or busy house. This toy has it all - ribbons, switches, texture and sound. It's an all-round great buy.

This cloth busy board is soft, making it perfect for younger children. The simple zips, buttons and buckles make this a great buy for your little one, and it's portable too.

These busy cubes are a really cute alternative to the usual shape of busy board. Reviews say they're great for out and about or for popping in a pram to keep babies occupied.

This cute owl design of this board is totally unique and much smaller than most boards available, so it's great for the pram.

This compact, stylish busy board would be great for small homes or people who don't like clutter. 

What have you learned so far as new parents? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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  • Author: Maria Martin Maria Martin
  • Job Title: Online Editor

Maria is the Online Editor for Mother&Baby. She is a biker, mama-of-one who enjoys baking and taking her little one to messy play. Maria's focus is around breastfeeding, post-partum depression and weaning. She aspires to help fellow mums through pregnancy, motherhood and beyond by discussing issues such as mental health and self-care. You can find Maria on Instagram and LinkedIn. Maria has won Bauer Media Awards for 2018 Digital Editor Of The Year and 2017 Digital Talent Of The Year. 

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