DIY Sensory/Busy board

So, as some of you may know, I work in the ‘Baby Room’ of a Day Nursery and love finding things babies can explore with their senses. I have come across a few ‘sensory boards’ or ‘busy boards’ and thought I would have a go at combining the two…

I didn’t really know where to start so, before I did anything, I made a list. (If you’re a list person or not, this was very helpful to me….I’m a list person). I made a list of anything that I thought might be interesting to a child’s senses. I tried to think of things I may find around the house e.g. old keys, a sponge etc. If you are extremely organised, you could even sub-categorise them lists into different senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste).

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Then comes the fun bit. After my list and brainstorming ideas, I went for a rummage. I turned the house upside down, looking at things in a totally different way, all the time thinking ‘what could I use this for’. It’s amazing what you can find. I also had a rummage at my dad’s house as he is a DIY man and he had some hooks, chains and the paint roller sleeve. He also gave me some dried fruit, leftover from making Holly Wreathes at Christmas. They are still scented and are a very interesting texture, some of my favourite items.

Whilst rummaging I found some string, belts that I never wear, old keys, buttons, cupboard knob handles and hoover parts. The hoover part has interesting bristles around the edge and a hole at the bottom, which I thought the children could post objects through (maybe pom pom balls). I also got a few carpet/fabric samples, which you can send off for on-line or get from a local DIY/Carpet store; try to get different textures and colours to encourage exploring little hands.

I then got my board (which was an old part of a computer desk, but any sturdy, wooden board would do) and sanded it down so there were no sharp edges. I spent a while placing the items, thinking about placing the lower items for babies who cannot yet sit (mirrors, bells etc.) I also decided to place the latches etc near the top of the board, so that as babies progress to toddlers they can work their minds trying to figure out how they work.

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At this point I was certain that I would find more items, move things around or change things completely (which I did). Anyway, next was painting. I chose a soothing, calm background colour (pale sky blue) as I didn’t want to distract from the focus on the items. I used screws and super-glue to attach all the items and made sure they were all secure.

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And here is the finished product…

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I hope this post inspires you to have a rummage around your home and get creative to benefit the learning of your little ones. Any more suggestions on what to put on a Busy Board, comment below…ready for my next project.

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