First Birthday Gift: Toddler Busy Board

Man-child turns 1 in two weeks. How is that even possible? That was the fastest year of my life!

I am so excited for his first birthday gift. I’ve seen these toddler busy boards online and I knew I had to make one. I love making gifts because it’s more heartfelt and I could personalize it for him. He loves it! He’s already played with it because it was out as I slowly worked on it. Oh well, it may not be a surprise but I can tell you about what he likes.

DIY Toddler Busy Board First Birthday PresentI’ll give a rundown of what I used. Making the board means you can make how you want.

Board: This is 3/4″ plywood that I had cut to 2’x2′ when I bought it at Home Depot. At first I bought a thinner board because it was on a major sale, but then found it too light that Man-child couldn’t play without pulling it over on himself and also the screws were going through the board. I painted with acrylic craft paint.

Doors: Man-child loves these. He spends most of his time opening and closing them. The doors I had cut at Home Depot from with the first board I bought. They are 6″x6″. I’m planning to modge podge pictures of Honeybunches and me behind them.

Fabric Roll: I saw someone else had done this and thought it would be a great idea since Man-child likes to pull the toilet paper. These are the cheapest toilet paper holders I could find at Home Depot. I sewed the fabric, which was pretty easy.

Light Switch: I had this lying around the house. I saw tons of people using them but I couldn’t find anything about what to do about the blue box on the back. I couldn’t take it off and I didn’t have the tools to cut it out to inset it. Instead I just used long screws and it sticks out from the board, but it hasn’t been a problem. It’s very secure and Man-child doesn’t mind.

Door Stop: This is Man-child’s favorite! I also had this left over from our house. I took the end off and then glued it back on. I did this to help it be less of a choking hazard.

Locks: I bought this on Amazon for cheap. The others were just from Home Depot.

Touch Light: I bought these. They aren’t the best. Man-child kept pulling the light off it’s back that is attached to the board. I ended up gluing the light together. When the batteries die, I’ll probably just throw the whole thing away and replace it. Also, the light won’t stay on, only turns on when you push it and hold it. I really don’t mind since then it can’t get left on and wear the batteries down.

Kitchen Timer: I bought this one. It’s okay, but after a couple days, after being turned back and forth, it no longer ticks and counts down itself. But, you can still turn it and when you turn it to zero it still rings. I think it’s perfect like that.

Caster: I bought this one. Man-child seems to like it. I maybe would consider a larger one.

Hand Wheel: This is the one I bought and it’s the perfect size! I’m adding how I attached it to the board because if you are not handy like me, then you have no clue. Luckily, I was helped by the nicest employee at Home Depot I had ever met (am I the only one who usually finds the employees who are impatient or annoyed that you asked them something?).

What I used: Nut, bolt, and two washers. I’m not sure the size of the bolt or washers but the nut was 5/16 in-18. The bolt needed to be one that could turn freely in the middle of the wheel and long enough to go through the board, wheel, and nut.

How to attach a hand wheel to toddler busy board

First I drilled a 5/16 hole. Then the bolt went through with the head in the back of the board. The bolt was one that anchors in the back so it doesn’t turn and it doesn’t stick out very far. On the front of the board, on the bolt put the washer, then the wheel, and then the other washer. Then secure it with the nut.

DIY How to make a busy board

That’s it! See, I couldn’t keep him away. It was a fun project and Man-child loves it and it even entertained his friends who came over on Monday.

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