Friday, July 25, 2014

DIY Sensory Board

So with Brooks crawling around and wanting to get into everything (read: EVE-RY-THING) he is getting more and more curious about how things work.  From opening and closing his closet door, to banging two plastic cups together, he's finally getting "it".

That's why I thought making him a sensory board would be fun since it would be all his favorite things in one place.

I looked up a couple different options on Pinterest:
Basically, I just determined it was a bunch of random knick-knacks glues to a board.  Nothing too hard.

Chris and I headed off to Home Depot (aka. Brooks' second home) and picked up a bunch of random movable, tactile, and safe objects to put on our board.
What made our cut?  (starting at the top left) A latch lock, carpet square sample, astroturf sample, faux-fur (from Michaels), sandpaper, (second row) mirror (Michaels), hook latch, hinged lock, doorstop, bell (Office Depot), furniture wheel, (third row) chain lock, hitching ring, plastic chain, ribbon (via our junk drawer?), metal chain, velcro tie (another weird thing we found in our junk drawer), (bottom row) there will be a bungee cord with different attachments.

As for the board, we couldnt find anything already pre-made to the size and shape we wanted (we debated getting some builder's grade ply-board but didnt like the cheapy feel of it) and end up finding this at Lowe's.
The corners were a bit sharp (read: eye gouging) so Chris cut them and then made them nice and rounded by using a low grit sandpaper.  We liked the idea of staining it and then sealing it in with polyurethane for a smooth finish, so Chris got to it.
 Ohhh pretty...
Next, we just laid our pieces down on the board in the way I prearranged them earlier, just to make sure they still made sense.
Oh and those letters for B's name?  Also a Michaels find that we stained ebony.  Its another fun texture for him and a good way to start recognizing letters and how to spell his name.

After that, it was as easy as using Liquid Nails to glue everything down or screw the big ones into place.

Fun side note: Did you know that can use extra pieces of unused carpet square samples as a drink coasters for your margarita while you do this project?  Because you totally can.
Chris even spoiled me with a drunk pineapple in my drink... yea, things get pretty crazy over here after bedtime
Once we got everything down, we let it dry over night to make sure everything sealed and little man wouldn't be able to rip anything off.
(I didnt take a picture of the back, but it helps if you also have a dremel to cut off all the screws and such that stick out on the back side of the board... better safe than sorry, just in case :-)

In the morning, we showed it to Brooks, really not knowing what to expect... would he get it? Would he be entertained for 15 seconds then go and find a half eaten dog toy to play with?  After all our hard work, we sat him down in front of the board and awaited his reaction.
He loved it.
 The door stop is a big seller...
He seriously went to town on it and played and played and played.  We sat next to him and pointed out some of the locks and he was able to copy us opening them and loved to do it himself.

Happy Little Boy!
Its heavy enough to lean against the coffee table and Brooks use it to pull himself up, but WARNING, he can (and will) pull it down if he wants to, so Chris and I only have this out when we can be right there with him holding the board against the table.  Sometimes we just put it on the floor and he crawls all over it, which is a bit of a safer option, but Brooks likes to stand.

Its also not too heavy so its easy to tuck away behind a couch or in a corner when he's not using it.

All in all, he loves it, and so do we.  Honestly, we made this about 3 weeks ago and it is still is favorite go-to thing to play with!

In the end, it probably cost us around $75 with all the gadgets, knick-knacks, and stainable solid board.  I know that's REALLY pricey for a kids toy, but something about the satisfaction of making something for your kid yourself that is contributing to his development and fine motor skills made it an OK purchase for us.  (Plus I'm sure it would have been a lot cheaper if we just would have gone with more stuff in our junk drawer).

So there you have it! What do you think!  I think the Montessori movement is pretty cool and I much rather have our little guy sit in front of his thing instead of a TV screen.  Has anyone tried anything similar?  Or maybe you would have added something different to your board!  I would love your feedback!  Thanks!



  1. WONDERFUL WONDERFUL What a marvelous thing to have made for him! He will learn so much from it , far more than the cheapy expensive toys people seem to buy for babies to entertain themselves! Something like this he will play with for I am sure a couple of years and maybe more. ♥♥ Anne

  2. Very cool girl!! I've been debating on whether or not to make something like this for Lea. You've inspired me to do it. She's a very curious little girl. She'd likely love it. PS: Isn't mommy-hood the best? Brooks is too cute.

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