DIY Busy Board
Do you allow screen time for your kids?
I say yes to limited screen time! When I say limited, I mean IPad time when the moment benefits me. Some moments I have work to finish and my kids are climbing the walls or there are days when I am dying to catch up with a girlfriend over coffee and I have two rug rats in tow. So, when I need an hour of silence, I call on YouTube Kids to save the day. I have stopped justifying my choice to allow screen time for my kids. This is not a parent problem. This is my parent solution. They are my kids. That’s that.
I am not entirely terrible, though.
During my quest to be the perfect Supermom, I attempted to build my girls their own busy board. If you veg-out on Pinterest, like I do, you probably already stumbled on this idea. I would say it is the toddler version fidget cube. Now, unless you live under a rock (or don't have a teen in your home) you probably are familiar with the newest craze of fidget spinners and fidget cubes; a desk toy to satisfy restless fingers.
So, whether you're a clicker, a flicker, a roller or a spinner, the cube has something to satisfy every type of fidgeter. My girls recently have become curious about light switches and are more insistent to try and open hinges and knobs on their own. So, began my search looking for a little kid version of a fidget cube.
So here it is... Tah dah! Our busy-board, ((ahem)) handmade by moi! Apparently, I know my way around the toolshed and the hardware store at the mall. (You know, because, shopping!)
To break it down, I found a calculator, an electrical socket, a combi lock, and bicycle bell in the garage, then became so obsessed with the idea of this, I decided to sacrifice my precious time and head to the mall and introduced myself to the hardware store. There, I found the rest of the "busy items" like the chain lock, wheel, doorbell click-switch; stuff I knew would make perfect additions for our board and their curious little fingers.
Now, the electrical socket is up for debate… When I shared this idea in the Glamo-Mamas Group on Facebook, some ladies questioned this. To be honest, I have scared my girls enough and explained the precautions of real all sockets for them to know they are not to place their fingers in there. They also share a full time nanny, so this luxury gave me the confidence to add it on our board. From my experience, temptation is far greater when prohibited.
I am resourceful, yes, handy no. Since this was ultimately just an experiment, I did not expect perfection on the first go. At the bookstore I found a cork board with plywood backing and metal frame. It needed to be sturdy yet soft enough for me to attach the items without using a drill.
Before screwing the items on the board, I pre-arranged them for symmetry. Once I was pleased with the aesthetic, I traced small markings with a pencil. I just used screws to attach the items on the board, but made sure they were not too long to prevent them from poking through the other side of the board.
I purposely left the toy looking raw and unkept, because decorating it with sparkles and rainbow colors would make it lose its novelty a lot quicker. The charm of the busy-board is that the items attached are all for "grown-ups". The kids know they cannot easily access these gadgets regularly, so if I placed stickers and painted it flashy, the novelty would probably wear off sooner than later.
So yes, life, kids, and everything in between constantly pile on our to-do lists. But this project was super easy to complete. I am really excited to share this discovery in hopes to inspire others, who like me have a love/hate relationship with the iPad (more love than hate) and may be searching for a learning toy to cater to their child's fine motor skills & unique interests!
Would you give this a go? Let me know your thoughts.
It could make for a fun weekend project perhaps.