Hello Mamas and Papas (or anyone looking to make an awesome Christmas gift for a lil one!) I had been struggling with the fact that we don’t have a basement or play room designated for Sophie to have as her ‘fun zone.’
I’d bounced it off of you guys and you put it into perspective for me. Kids are going to play wherever they can. It doesn’t matter if there’s a whole room or if it’s under your feet…they’re not picky. Sophie is usually under my feet, but when she’s not, you can find her at the latch board/ busy board we made for her.
She’s too young to practice latching, turning a key, and pretty much everything else on the board, but she still LOVES playing around with all of the different tools. Her favorite thing is the peek-a-boo doors that hide her cousin, Fiona.
- Wood board of any size (we got one cut down to 2×2)
- Stain or paint for the board
- Brush or rag for the stain
- Sand paper or router to make the edges kid-friendly
- Tons of latches
- Picture hanging cleat
- Thin strip of wood
It was fun going to the hardware store to pick out all of the materials needed to make Sophie’s busy board. First, we got the board cut down to size so we could hold up the latches to gauge the number needed to fill the board. In hind sight, that would have been an awesome idea but when you have a crying baby, you kind of just grab what you think looks best and save the receipt.
Several days later (because we know that’s how projects happen) we chose the best of the best for the latch board. Some of the things we thought we’d really want on there, didn’t turn out to be the best idea (a tap light that could blind her with it’s super-bright LEDs.)
Here you can see how we’ve spaced things according to size, what she’ll play with and where cords/chains will hang. We probably spent too long trying to figure this out but I don’t regret the placement of anything on the board! Everything we bought came with hardware and was super easy to drill a hole and screw through the board. We used a counter sink on the drill bit to ensure everything would lay flat against the wall. As you’ll see below, there were a couple things that stuck out (the buttons) but it doesn’t seem to effect the board being unstable.
We used a thin strip of spare wood to attach the picture hanging cleat to the back of the board. We’ve used these cleats on very heavy frames and mirrors and knew it would stand up to Soph pulling and hitting the board. The board does come off from the wall if she pulls a latch hard but it hasn’t left any dents in the wall (yet.) Nothing a little spackle and paint won’t fix when we go to move.
We couldn’t wait to see her reaction so we brought it in to hang before she went to bed. She was so curious about the board and wanted to play with it right away! As always, she had to help Daddy hang it on the wall.
We’re super in love with her board. I’ve put it on ‘her wall’ where I have art that I’ve made for her and a sweet Muppets Alphabet print that she likes to sing to.
Here’s how sweetly nestled it is on the gallery wall. I like the fact that it’s a toy that’s on the wall, meaning I don’t have to constantly be putting it away or tripping on it in the middle of the night.
Her, and my, favorite part of the board are the peek-a-boo doors. She’ll pretty much play peek-a-boo with anything, but curtains and these doors are her favorite. The other door hides a photo of Jeffrey and I which she always takes off to hand to me. I think she’s asking when Daddy’s getting home! I have the photos up with washi tape because I wanted to be able to switch out the people as a fun surprise or even add flash cards of words she’s learning. Like I said, she pulls down the photo of us, but she always leaves Fiona, so that one may just stay there forever.
I’m excited to watch her as she becomes more interested in the different latches and begins to start playing with the more difficult gadgets. Some of the latches are for a much older Sophie, which I LOVE! For now, the door stop, peek-a-boo doors and mirror keep her entertained for at least a few minutes while Mommy cleans up her lunch from the floor.
I’m proud of her latch board for a few reasons. 1. It looks stellar and she’ll be able to use it for years to come. 2. It was a fun project for Jeffrey and I to design and build together for our sweet daughter. Win win! What else would you put on the board to keep a baby-toddler busy? I was wanting to add a zipper, buttons or ties but wasn’t sure how yet. Any ideas?