Busy boards in Vietnam, be it at the community centers or at homes, is a very new concept. No wonder that educators here are craving these amazing Edu-play stations for their preschools and kindergartens. The large well-made unusual toy brings an instant wow-effect, while a variety of parts serves to all kids’ likings and all ages.
Story: I’ve taken a commission for a bespoke busy board from one of the French-run kindergartens here in Hochiminh City. The owners wanted all the cool stuff I could find, including the Phone Dial! This is something you can never find on a mass-produced board.
WhAt size of busy boards works best for schools?
Depends on the area where you plan to install the board. Figure out the best spot, then measure it. To let several kids play at once, the busy board width should be no less than three feet. Here, we went four.
A busy board of this size should be mounted to the wall, due to it being pretty heavy. You would not want it to fall onto a toddler. If not possible, the board can lean on a sturdy wall, yet there must be adult supervision at all times.
This board carries over 40 different parts of various sizes, shapes, and functions. It is roughly 4 x 1.5 feet, which allows two, three, and even four kids to have fun at once.
What to expect from a large busy board?
By equipping your business with a large busy board, you will tick bunch of boxes with one buy. It is hands-on, educational, entertaining, open-ended. It aligns with the Montessori and Reggio Emilia methods, as well as packs the whole punch of sensory experiences.
When kids get to play on it together, they can collaborate from as early as one year old, helping each other to figure out the parts. It becomes a unique opportunity to work on social skills from the most tender age.
What UNIQUE parts CAN BE USED?
Easy Busy Boards do not carry toy pieces. We believe that the busy board concept is based on using Real Stuff. As for the bead runners or mazes, they sit in their perfect place on the activity cubes or as is. But here? Real Deal only.
Dial disk comes from the 1970s 600-A1 NEC Japanese dial phone. And while we’re at it – try explaining to your kids how you did a set of weirdest movements to make a call, instead of simply asking Alexa.
Of course, the phone theme wouldn’t be full without the phone speaker. A big hit among busy bees aged 1 to 10.
The interactive light area is stuffed with lovely battery-powered lamps.
The colored trio put on color-matching velcros doubles as a built-in learning activity. Although, everything on this board is a learning activity.
The wheels and rollers help to develop fine motor skills, the locks and latches pose the basic problems to be solved. Various bells (brass bell & concierge bell) bring in the sensory stimuli and teach music skills. Compasses, switches, blocks, and pulleys boost the imagination skills, but also introduce to the basic Tech and Mechanics through play.
Making busy boards in Vietnam…
…means making them from bamboo lumber.
Putting this project together had been a learning curve for this busy board maker, too. I had to work with a beautiful sheet of pressed bamboo wood and wanted to risk neither the board nor my nice drill bits.
So quite a few elements ended lifted on a plywood base, like this brass tap on the picture above, and these buttons below.
Note: harder wood is harder to work with. Duh. And, it’s also WAY heavier.
If you’re planning to make busy boards in Vietnam yourself while lacking the proper power tools, at least choose pine for your project. It is much softer and easier to handle.
Aside from being educational, out-of-the-box, exploratory, and sustainable, the larger the busy board is, the more AWESOME it looks. Go for it and make a nice wow-inducing centerpiece for your playful learning space!