How do you find out what not to put on the homemade sensory board? Like your baby, through experimenting with the harsh reality? We suggest you’d rather read this post. 

So many pictures of the sensory board around the internet boast all kinds of amazing elements. There are very few items that have never been put on this homemade sensory toy. 

What do parents & carers use for the homemade sensory boards?

Starting from the kitchen pans and pots and ending with the car spare parts, everything deserves its place on the homemade sensory board. Full-scale dispatcher control panels. Keyboards, headphones, TV controls, utensils, tie hangers. Dog leashes, jar lids, mobile phones, drain pipes, jeans zippers, drums, tambourines, and whatnot. 

But do ALL of these parts will make you a happy sensory board household? Turns out, no. 

Scroll down to see what parts to avoid when making a sensory board. Keep yourself, your home, and your beloved safe and sane. 

Disclaimer: This article is not about the safety requirements for the busy board, but about the elements ruled out by common sense and painful experiences. Please take it with a grain of salt. For a more serious take, follow us to see the upcoming posts about safety guidelines when making a busy board.

What NOT to put on your sensory board – for your own’s sake


do not put whistle on sensory board - here's why


When you’re making a sensory board, you might think that putting a whistle on it can be fun. It definitely will be fun, but not for you. 

Moreover, as the whistle sound is very loud, the chances are high that younger babies might get scared at first. 

One option when it is possible to put a whistle on the sensory board is when you install it outdoor. Think treehouse. On a tree. A tree that is quite far from your house. 

sensory board what to avoid coil longer than 9 inch

Spiral cords

Springs and elastics seem fun and cheerful, but do remember that babies are strong as heck and not considering their effort much. What happens with the spiral elastics or phone cords? They get mercilessly stretched. So if you go for using the spiral cord, choose one that doesn’t exceed 9 inches fully uncoiled. 

soft metal springs

Same applies to small soft metal springs, like on the fishing alarms. Imagine – you’ve spent a good 30 minutes attaching a spring to your board. You give it to the toddler. One good yank, and it’s gone. Don’t do it to yourself. 

The dog clicker

A metallic clicker for dog training is a very cool thing you can come across in Dollar Store. They come in cute shapes. You thumb a button with a metallic plate, and it makes a loud click. 

Very, very loud click. 

It is probably great for the outdoor training session with your dog friend, and it definitely gives a fun sensory experience, but you don’t want a toddler in the house with this thing. 

! – Loud sound and music toys can drive adults mad, but what’s more important, they can be too loud for the baby’s ears. Pay attention to your kid. If your little one gets startled by a sound, then it’s probably too loud for them.

avoid blinking lights when making a sensory board

Blinking LED lights

The LED bicycle tail lights often can be too bright. Even if not, they are blinking. Generally, it is recommended to avoid blinking lights anywhere in the living spaces, as it can drive seizures in individuals prone to epilepsy. 

That’s definitely something you don’t want to use on a toy.  

Latches that are too COMPLICATED

The sensory board is an incredible tool for problem-solving training. What seems like a no-brainer lock for you is actually a whole puzzling mystery for the toddler. But when they can solve the problem mentally and lack physical strength, it can get frustrating.

And as we all know, no one wants to be around a frustrated toddler. 


Although it can be tempting, do not put on the activity board anything that has a sentimental value for you. It goes for the cherished family photos, music boxes, vintage trinkets, and such. 

Keep in mind that babies are merciless. In a blink of an eye, your favorite souvenir can be gone forever. 

Besides, the sensory boards attract all the crafts that happen in the playroom, be it painting or play-doh. Your kid may one day draw all over it – and great-grandma’s only photo, too. 

What else would be good to know?

Make sure to double-check all the parts for safety, twice. Watch out so there would be:

  • no sharp edges
  • no pointy corners
  • no metal burrs
  • no loose ends over 9 inches long

How do I choose the right parts for my kiddo’s sensory board? 

If you prefer the purist Montessori approach, make a single-themed board with only nuts and bolts, or only sound elements, or only textures. 

Need a foolproof magnet to keep your tinker-head busy while you’re cooking dinner? Stuff it with the puzzles and interlocking elements. 

sensory board with interlocking elements

Your kid is all about roleplay? Choose tumblers, switches, steering wheels, and mirrors. 

busy board sensory board activity board with numbers open-ended play montessori waldorf

You’d like to include some STEM lessons on the sensory board? Find out how to do it here.  

The personal tweaks are endless. Just make sure the board is not too crowded and parts don’t get in the way of each other. 


rule of a thumb

There are actually not that many parts that cannot be put on a sensory board. If something is fun, safe, teaching life skills, and interesting, if your kid likes it, give it a go. 

Just keep in mind that it will be constantly yanked, pushed, pinched, and banged!

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