Our eleven-month-old Ryder is into absolutely everything. It’s wonderful to see him learn and explore, but not so wonderful when you regularly over cook your dinner because you were, once again, pulling your baby out of the refrigerator.
Thankfully for me, my super-duper-handy-creative husband, Dan, was able to whip up a DIY Activity Board using various pieces of home hardware. We placed the board in the kitchen to occupy our busy little man while we prepare dinner.
General contractor/developer and awesome dad, Dan Hall, with son, Ryder.
We had a blast making it and Ryder loves it. If you or someone you know is comfortable using a drill, this project is a piece of cake!
Plywood board cut to your specifications
STEP 1: Find the ideal location and measure out the dimensions of your board. We chose a wall in the kitchen but you might consider putting this in a playroom or family room.
STEP 2: Pack up the fam’ and take a trip to the hardware store. Ask them to precut the plywood to your measurements.
STEP 3: Cruise the aisles for everyday hardware: door knobs, chains (not too heavy), door knockers, bolts and locks, doorbells (if you’re super handy, you can wire them to make sound), light switches, wheels, pullies, doorstoppers, hinges, pieces of carpet, Velcro, etc.; horns, bells and even house numbers. Get creative, and try to think from the child’s perspective.
STEP 4: Paint the board with preferably low VOC paint in your choice of colour and let dry for approximately 12 hours.
STEP 5: Put your baby to bed…ahhh relief.
STEP 6: Pour yourself two, ample glasses of wine (when you’re a parent, date nights don’t always take place in conventional situations) and get drilling! (No pun intended).
When distributing your hardware on the board, keep in mind your baby’s eye level while standing, sitting and for when he/she grows a bit taller. These activity boards are something they can grow into so it’s okay if they can’t reach everything right away.
STEP 7: Do a safety test! Fiddle with all the attachments to make sure everything is well secured and that nothing can harm your baby during use. Use your common sense, and to be extra cautious, have a third party check for any potential hazards. Ryder really loves the doorstoppers, and it was our neighbor who pointed out that the rubber ends could be a choking hazard. We’ve since twisted them off so that Ryder can continue to enjoy the boing boing factor, safely.
STEP 8: Finally, drill the board to the desired wall and let ‘em at it!