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What I love about little kids is that they’re so free of gender prejudices.

Though it is really is a cute busy board, the fillers for it are just the same hardware pieces as for the more bold designs.

My own big passion for hardware junk started when I was barely four (probably earlier, but that’s what I remember). I can recall it very clearly: my mom was an engineer at the shipyard. One day she couldn’t find anyone to babysit, so she took me with her.

A little girlie in a bright pink jacket was walking along the docks with giant cargo ships, my mouth wide open. All around me there were big metal things – anchors, and sheets of metal, and cable rolls, and huge chains. Then, a heap of loose chain links, each size of the palm of a hand of a grown-up man. Afterward, huge metal beams piled neatly. Even half-of-the-ship-huge-as-hell-right-above-me.

As we were leaving the shipyard territory, the security guy noticed I was crouching down to the ground because of something really heavy in my little pink pocket. Yup, I sneaked a 2-kilo cast iron cargo ship chain link.

Like a little cutie pie in a pink jacket, I was.

Princess Busyboard - a Cute Busy Board for Maya cute busy board with a crown for baby toddler boy girl developmental toy

That’s why I was more than encouraged when I got a request to make a busy-board for a girl, for little Maya. I do believe that the busy-boards are for all kids, definitely not just boys.

This Princess busy-board was made for the sweetest 1-year-old birthday girl, who loves – surprise – princesses and a certain British piglet. (And, just maybe, cast iron chain links.)

All in all, the cute busy-board for girl didn’t take me much more planning than any other. I did get some inspiration for the design from a certain British piglet cartoon. A couple of elements here are slightly more pink than I would usually do, but that’s it.

cute busyboard with the small toys for the one year old girl boy 忙板

How to choose elements:

First things first. Everything should be safe.

Second, while choosing elements, just have fun and go creative. If you know that your child has a particular love for buttons or loud sounds (they all do), then add more of them.

You probably would want to include things with various sensory triggers. Think sound, texture, movement, reflections, dynamics etc., everything that will work well to make a cute busy board that’ll stimulate your little one thoroughly.

For that board, I pulled together a pile of wheels, rolls, bells, locks, and colorful Vietnamese ropes of ultimately pleasant woven texture. Also, a bicycle bell (not recommended, though – hard to attach, and there are too many details inside in case it breaks). But that one was pretty solid and so adorably polka-dotted, so I had to give it a go.

Cute Busy Board Step-by-step:

  • First, pencil your design onto wood. Second, paint, step by step. Let dry thoroughly every time you replace the painter tape. Then, arrange the elements. Take your time.As you got your cute busy board layout drafted, snapshot it and try to come up with another one, just in case.Eventually, you’ll feel which design will work best for your toddler. By the way, you can do it together with the kid on that stage. Eyeball, discuss and have some fun planning.
  • Attach the elements. Go one at a time. Some will be easy, others – not that easy. This step may get kinda tricky, so don’t be discouraged when it does. It’s perfectly normal.
  • Add smaller details. Think pictures behind the peekaboo doors, a piece of rope here and there, few large carbines etc.
  • Get your beta-tester to double-check all systems.
  • Mount to the wall in your preferred spot.

Go for massive customization. Do whatever your kid (or you!) is particularly fond of. If you’re crazy about that chevron patterns or b/w, go for it! I’m sure it’ll look cool. If your kid loves banging kitchen pans, attach an old kitchen pan somewhere – why not? Colors, animals, characters, shapes, family members portraits… Add a little personal touch to take your busy board a step further than just screwing some hardware on some wood.

Here you are totally empowered to decide what you’re making. A developmental DIY toy that can be just played and then tossed away, OR the impressive one-of-a-kind playroom gear, that you’ll be proud of for at least few years. Do it your way. Whatever you choose, it’ll be perfectly good.

Little Royal Busy-board a.k.a. “Girly” – done. Check!

Next time, I will go all in and create a full-scale bad-ass girl busy-board. Think Mad Max Furiosa bad-ass. As soon as I can get my hands on a truck driving wheel.

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