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Busy Board for a Busy {birthday} Boy!

2013 January 9

title

Today was our son Weston’s first birthday. I could gush and tell you all the typical mom speak that seems to spill out of the mouth of a proud mama but this post would be entirely too long and there are enough pictures I wanted to show you so I’ll spare you. Just know I love my son’s guts and I am so blessed to be his mommy.

If “idle hands are the devil’s playground” my son is ANGELIC. He is a boy in the utmost and he is always getting into stuff, so why not give him an outlet for all that investigative energy. I’ve seen some busy boards on Pinterest and from some Googling but the idea to do this was all my hubby. When you have 2 young kids already, there’s not really a need for toys. I try to buy clothes for the kids (on sale of course) 6 months – a year before hand to save money. So what do you get for a little boy who doesn’t need clothes or toys and who had his first Christmas just 2 weeks ago. A busy board!

caution

I wanted it to be eye catching and more interesting than just bare wood. Black and yellow stripes seemed to do the trick. I used the wax paper image transfer technique from Unexpected Elegance to get my message across the top and then I just used a black Sharpie to fill in the letters and achieve the sharp message of : “Caution: Boy At Play”.

busy board

Between a trip to Lowes and going through random stuff we had around the house, we were able to pull together all the items you see here to keep those little hands busy, if even for a few minutes! Between everything we probably spent about $50 which pains me a bit to say, but I guarantee that between all 3 of my kiddos we’ll get our money’s worth.

top

This little thing came from a swag bag my husband picked up at a scuba diving convention. When you push the little button, a small LED light shines. To attach it to the board I just relied on my tube of trusty E-6000 glue (Love that stuff. It works so well and it’s super cheap. Less than $3 at Walmart). I just swapped out the message under the plastic and using my Silhouette machine, (squeeel! I’m still so excited I have one finally!!!!) I printed and then cut a piece of card stock to the exact dimensions including the rounded corners. It made me smile…

light

This latch was seriously my favorite. To be honest, I don’t know what it’s called, but the range of motion that the handle goes through in order to lock is what makes it a perfect addition to the board ‘o business.

latch

Because we countersunk the light switches, that meant that they were sticking out of the back by about  ½”, so to fix that problem, we took some spare pieces of 1×2 screwed into the back of the board and then through the board into the wall. We kinda liked the way the hardware added to the look.

hardware

I added a hidden message with some good old thumb tacks underneath one of the hinged boards.

hidden message

 My perspective.

mom's perspective

Weston’s perspective (exaggerated just a bit).

boys perspective

The Hubbs and I “installed” the board during nap time and this was little man’s first introduction to it….yes, we took a million pictures (only in Florida can the baby take a nap in January in nothing but a diaper).

into to present
open

message

swithc

door stopper love

The door stopper was a last minute addition to the busy board plans and it has proven to be worth it’s weight in FUN. Like every baby I’ve ever known, the door stopper or the “boy-yoy-yoing thing” like we call it, is his favorite thing on the whole board!

regret later  

Born just 1 day after my own birthday, there’s no one cuter who I’d let steal all MY birthday thunder than this guy. He is my {son}shine and snuggle buddy and I can’t imagine life without him. Happy 1st Birthday Weston!

Michelle

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76 Responses leave one →
  1. Toni permalink
    January 10, 2013

    Perfect 1st birthday gift!! Love the idea and execution. Weston seems to approve as well.

  2. Trish permalink
    January 10, 2013

    I love this idea and the little guy it was made for! Great job, Michelle!

  3. Adora permalink
    January 10, 2013

    Brilliant Idea! I love how masculine it is, this is going to really develop those fine motor skills…

  4. January 24, 2013

    Happy bday to you both! Weston is adorable! I saw the photo for your project on Pinterest and love it!! As the mom to 3 young men I know how much kids enjoy this kind of thing. Now I have 2 grandchildren, Aly will be 5 soon and Lukey just turned 1. Since my hubby works at a heating/plumbing/lumber store I think we could easily come up with our own version. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m sure your kids treasure their amazing busy board! :)

  5. January 28, 2013

    OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE this, I saw it on Brisbane Kids. I so want to buy one from you as I so d0n’t have the skills to make it myself!

    • February 5, 2013

      Dana, Mr. MillionAyres here. It’s about 50 x 60cm and weighs probably around 8-9kg. If we were to make one just like it, we would probably sell them for $100. I know it’s a lot, but the material cost is around $65 alone, plus time to make it. Shipping from Florida to Brisbane would probably cost quite a bit as well! Around $250! Might be better to find someone crafty nearby who can help you make one :)

  6. Carrie Roberts permalink
    January 29, 2013

    What an adorable idea! Your son seems to think so too! I’m sure you double checked, but the springy door stopper thing – make sure the little rubber stopper doesn’t fall off – my son use to pull ours off on purpose! Yikes!

    • Michelle permalink*
      January 30, 2013

      Oh, don’t I know it. I learned that with our first. Rest assured dear readers, everything is securely attached and/or glued in place. It’s cool, but NEVER worth risking my children’s lives on.

  7. Rachel permalink
    January 29, 2013

    Love this for my little guy. I sent it to my husband so he can see it and make one for me!

    But also in Texas can it be January and your kid in diapers playing outside in the water… :)

  8. Heather permalink
    January 29, 2013

    Very cute…looks like he’s having lots of fun! As an ER nurse though, it concerns me about the door stopper. The rubber piece on the end is a very common choking hazard and not recommended in houses with young kids. Maybe if you used some of that trusty glue to secure it? Just thought it should be mentioned :)

    • Michelle permalink*
      January 30, 2013

      Heather, thank you, I should have mentioned it, the little cap is secured in place. Gotta love E-6000 super(amazing) glue!

  9. January 29, 2013

    I think my kiddos would like the door stopper best! Man, they play with them around the house ALL the time. =) Adorable idea!!

  10. Amie permalink
    January 30, 2013

    Love this idea! I had a thought of doing something like this for my little guy but I thought who lets their kid play with this stuff? But now seeing this, I’m wanting to do something for his 2nd birthday which also is going to be a construction theme! Thanks for the wonderful tips!

  11. Trish permalink
    January 30, 2013

    While this looks like a great play and learning tool, I don’t agree with the use of various types of locks! Think of the ramifications as the child learns how to use these, they can then open or get out of or in everything! The use of functional items that are more age appropriate would be much better! My knowledge comes from 26 yrs. of working in a classroom with 5 to 8 yr. old children!

    • Michelle permalink*
      January 30, 2013

      Trish, to be honest I was on the fence about including certain locks. My 2 and 3 year old are already fully capable of opening and closing a locked door, and they never had a board like this. We enforce strict rules and consequences for breaking those rules when it comes to doors and overall safety.

      Actually, just last week, our dear friend had their front door open to let in a breeze; he stepped outside to retrieve something and their 2 year old locked him out with the 6 month old still inside. He ran all around the house panicking trying to get back in all the while attempting to instruct his little girl on how to unlock the door. When you’re in a panic minutes seem like eternity. But I understand you concern regarding safety

      • Cathy permalink
        February 2, 2013

        I agree with Trish. As I read about the project, I thought it was wonderful. After finishing reading, the same thought came to me about teaching a young child how to use locks. This could be very harmful to teach children to use locks. You can certainly enforce rules in your home but just one time of breaking that rule could be very dangerous. I really like the board and would love one for my grandsons but one of them (a 1-1/2 yr old) would be out the house in no time at all. Probably with a little bit of thought, a creative mind could come up with some substitutions for the locks.

    • Linda permalink
      May 28, 2013

      I think each child and home is different. Some would certainly create mischief once they had learned to operate the locks. Some kids will figure out locks even without training, and yet others will accidentally operate them without any idea what they’d done!
      As long as parents are armed with the awareness of the risk, the dangers can be more readily addressed by discussing when and how locks should be used (maybe wait to include them on a busy board for older kids?). Since accidents are always a possibility, locks installed by parents ought to be placed where small children are unlikely to reach them.
      It’s also a really good idea to have spare keys strategically placed for when (not if) the need comes up!

  12. February 2, 2013

    I so love this! We have a much smaller version from Melissa & Doug for my toddler. :) I am cohosting a play based learning blog hop, would LOVE to see this linked up. If you get a chance to stop by that would be awesome! Here’s the link http://www.spectrumpsychological.net/1/post/2013/02/play-to-learn-february-blog-hop.html

    I’m bookmarking M:illionayres. I’ll be back :)

  13. Julie permalink
    February 4, 2013

    This is such a cute and creative idea!! My husband would like to make something similar for our son, but we were curious if you could tell us the dimensions of the board that you used?

    • Michelle permalink*
      February 5, 2013

      Julie,
      we took a 2′ x 2′ panel of wood from Lowe’s and cut off about 5″ to 6″ along one side (we used those pieces for the hinged panels). Good luck!

  14. Julie permalink
    February 9, 2013

    Thanks so much!! :-)

  15. Angela Wilkins permalink
    February 18, 2013

    what an amazing thing to make!

  16. February 18, 2013

    Oh my goodness, I love your board! I want to make one for my daughter, I am so happy to see that your little guy at 1 enjoys this. I think my daughter would too for her first birthday! What a great idea with that door stopper thing, brilliant.

  17. February 21, 2013

    Such faun project. Just shows homemade is best!

  18. Melanie permalink
    March 2, 2013

    What a cute little guy! I LOVE this idea!! My son is 3 months, looking forward to making this for him in the next few months!

  19. Luciana permalink
    March 8, 2013

    Love it!!!! Did you paint the yellow and black stripes? Or how did you do it?

    • Michelle permalink*
      March 10, 2013

      Luciana,
      I did paint the stripes. I painted the entire board yellow and then masked offl lines for the black stripes.

      • Jess permalink
        June 20, 2013

        What kind of paint did you use and did you seal it as well?

        • Michelle permalink*
          June 20, 2013

          I just used regular craft paint. I originally intended to seal it, but time was short and I was impatient so I didn’t. It’s still holding up strong without any wear and tear.

  20. Liliana permalink
    March 15, 2013

    Looking for something different for my little boy who will turn 1 as well… This is FANTASTIC! I couldn’t resist so your idea will help me to do this special gift… Awesome job, congrats!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  21. Melanie permalink
    April 7, 2013

    I LOVE THIS! My husband is on the floor right now making this for my busy man who turns 1 Thursday! Thanks for sharing.

  22. April 7, 2013

    Thank you so much for this great idea!! I have a rowdy little 2 1/2 year old boy and I know he’d love this!! I have included this in my Sunday Shares post for useful sites at http://www.doomestic.com Thank you so much!!

  23. Joni permalink
    April 11, 2013

    What is the actual board made out of? I love this idea and want to make it for my grandson!

    • Michelle permalink*
      April 16, 2013

      I used a ½” 2′x 2′ piece of Birch plywood from Lowes.

  24. April 20, 2013

    I’ve gone ahead and added a hyperlink back to your web site from one of my clients requesting it. I have used your web site URL: http://millionayres.com/2159/busy-board-for-a-busy-birthday-boy/ and blog title: Busy Board for a Busy birthday Boy! to make certain you get the proper anchor text. If you woud like to see where your link has been placed, please contact me at: shananugent@gmail.com. Thanks alot :)

  25. Cassie permalink
    May 19, 2013

    Thank you for posting this amazing idea! My sons 1st birthday is May 24th so I went out and bought all the supplies (under $40 at Wal-Mart) All I need now is some paint (I have the wood already). Again, thank you for such a great idea!

  26. May 27, 2013

    I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your amazing busy board! You can see it here:

    http://funfamilycrafts.com/busy-board/

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  27. June 7, 2013

    I’m not sure why but this site is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem
    still exists.

  28. Jillian permalink
    June 21, 2013

    First, awesome idea. I have three boys so this will be a hit for sure! Quick question, how did you install the light switches? Meaning, did you have to cute a hole in the board (because they aren’t flush)?

    • Michelle permalink*
      June 21, 2013

      Jillian,
      I used my jigsaw to cut out the holes for the light switches. Since it isn’t flush, the board sort of floats off the wall. We attached 1×2′s to the wall and then screwed the board onto the 1×2′s. It leaves just enough space from the back of the switch boxes to the wall. Thanks! Hope your boys enjoy it!

  29. Loretta permalink
    July 29, 2013

    This is wonderful. I’ve had something similar in my mind for a while now but can’t seem to get grandpa on board. Add a steering wheel , and you have it all!!!!

  30. Kim permalink
    August 6, 2013

    I saw this a few months ago and thought it was brilliant! I am making this right now for my grandson`s 1st birthday and as I`m going around to various stores to pick things up I show them the pic. and everyone is blown away at this! Great job! I might add I`m a bit of a torment to the parents and I added a battery doorbell and I picked up a few lights that he can flick on and off…

  31. August 16, 2013

    When I saw this idea, my heart dropped. Children are great at manipulating locks and getting into things that they shouldn’t without providing them a teaching and training tool for how to master and manipulate locks. He would be very happy to unlock the front door for a stranger.
    What about the neighbors who have a lock on their pool enclosure?? He is at high risk of drowning. He could lock himself in the bathroom. there’s water in the toilet, bathtub and sink..
    Need I say more…

    Remember, there is electricity/ high voltage that is wired up to those light switches. Thank goodness you didn’t add a plug receptacle to the board.

    As for the wheel…car tires are basically a large version of the wheel you have on that board…
    Need I say more..

    I know you were trying to think of a cute creative toy for your child, but this is an accident waiting to heppen

    • Nikki permalink
      October 8, 2013

      My heart dropped because I’m so sad that people only see the negative in everything!! Kids learn these same things no matter what…kids still unlock gates, get behind wheels, etc. Kids are naturally curious about everything that is why supervision is a must at all times.

      I think this is a great idea!!!

      • Janet permalink
        October 28, 2013

        Good answer! It IS a great idea. Why not teach while kids are curious? Can’t think of a better way to help them learn. Thanks for a great idea. I’m starting on one tomorrow. :)

  32. Mallorie permalink
    August 21, 2013

    Can you post a pic of the back. I’m in process of making one and not sure how to attach light switches? What did you use to sink them in?

  33. Jess permalink
    August 29, 2013

    I LOVE this….so cute. My boys would love it…..off to a hardware store soon to try to make one!! Thanks for your awesome ideas…

  34. Heather permalink
    September 1, 2013

    I have a question about the door knob on your busy board. I’m having trouble figuring out how what type to get. Some of the door knobs had a rather large back to it so I wan’t sure if that would work so I purchased on that was flat on the back and come to find out it was an inactive knob (meaning that it doesn’t turn which defeats the purpose). Did you have to remove the mechanism from the back of your knob or did it also have to be sunk into the board? Thank You. – Heather

    • Michelle permalink*
      September 8, 2013

      Fortunately ours was just laying around after the previous homeowner replaced his door knobs. It had a very low profile and was still functioning. I used long screws and washers to hold it in place so that it didn’t need to be counter sunk. Unfortunately after a while of locking and unlocking the mechanism got sort of stuck and stopped working. This was never his favorite part of the busy board and if I really wanted to I could unscrew it and fix the issue, but after 8 months the door stopper and hinged doors are still his favorite parts.

  35. Lacey B. permalink
    September 7, 2013

    I have a question…I just love how yours turned out but I would like to know what kind of wood you used for the actual board and what size piece as well?

    • Michelle permalink*
      September 8, 2013

      I used a 2′x2′ ½” Lauan Plywood Board and then cut 5-6″ off one side and used that to create the little wooden doors.

  36. Lacey B. permalink
    October 8, 2013

    What font did you use for the wording?

  37. Barbara permalink
    October 27, 2013

    My grandson was born the day after my daughter’s (his mom) birthday. One week before Christmas. Lover this idea for an extra surprise gift.

  38. Mel permalink
    November 4, 2013

    The door stop is my favorite!!
    Very cool!

  39. Allen Taylor permalink
    November 19, 2013

    question–what are the overall dementions of the board?

    • Michelle permalink*
      November 19, 2013

      the overall dimension is approximately 18 inches by 24 inches. We took a 2′ x 2′ board,then cut 6 inches off one side to create the doors that are on the board.

      • Lisa permalink
        December 16, 2013

        FOOD FOR THOUGHT

        Whilst this toy looks great and I am sure it would keep most young children amused, I am concerned that it is teaching young children to play with things that may cause potential harm. Firstly the color of the board and bold markings remind me of a Danger or Hazard sign therefore children could associate danger with play or fun. Locks, they are generally used as a sign to not enter or keep something in eg medicine in a cupboard, children in the yard . Switches are often located near power points and a very dangerous to young children. I do not mean to sound so negative but would ask parents to consider that your young children may not understand the difference between playing with their board and every day hazards.

      • Heather permalink
        December 17, 2013

        How large are the little doors on the board? Are they 6″ x 6″, or smaller? Also, did you just use 2″ painters tape to paint the black and yellow stripes? We want to do this for our little one for Christmas. We have been wanting to put it together for about 6 months, (since we saw your post). This is an amazing idea, we just love it!!!

  40. November 25, 2013

    Amazing blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspirding writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m
    a little lost on everything. Would yyou suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
    option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused ..

    Any ideas? Many thanks!

  41. December 31, 2013

    This is a great busy board! I mentioned it on my blog: http://www.naptimerumination.blogspot.com. Thanks for the ideas!

  42. February 5, 2014

    This is adorable!!! perfect gift from nannies to the children they take care of.
    Love it

    http://www.aznannies.com

  43. Luanne Pang permalink
    March 26, 2014

    love you busy board! I’ll definitely be making like this for my 1 year old boy.
    And wow! my baby was born 1 day before my birthday. how cute!

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