I still need to pay my bills and buy groceries so I can’t always afford the gorgeous wooden toys on Etsy, or convince my husband that it’s “worth the investment”. Knowing my only options were to cave and buy the primary plastic toys, simply not eat for a week to afford the pretty toys, or become my child’s only source of entertainment (not good for either of us), I decided I needed to make something. I’m not a wood whittler, nor do I own any wood working tools I had to think outside of the box for this sensory board.
For more DIYs like this one, you can all of the other amazing tutorials on ourfauxfarmhouse.com right here.
I had seen numerous “sensory boards’ online, mostly locking mechanisms that were too complicated for little hands or fabric and Velcro contraptions that didn’t look very interesting. But it got me thinking about sensory boards. If I could create my own, I could customize it to not only fit my esthetic but also what my child’s level of play and interests were. To keep this project as inexpensive as possible I was going to need to be creative and resourceful, lucky for me those are two of my super powers.
DIY Sensory Board – My Process
It started with a piece of humble plywood leftover from a previous project. It was already a perfect size so I didn’t even need to cut it down. I sanded out the rough spots and slight yellow tinge then got to planning. Cost so far $0. You can get already small cuts of plywood at your local hardware store for under $30 or better yet see if they have any scraps at the cutting table big enough for the job.
To fill out the board I started shopping in my shed as well as my crafting bin. I found paint, casters, small pieces of 2x4s, trim pieces that I turned into a ball run, contact paper, a fold down hook and an unused light switch. To fill out the rest of the board I purchased small hinges, a brush head and a couple of neutral colored musical instruments off of amazon. Total cost for me was about $25!
That’s one of the things I truly loved about this project. You can make it however you like with whatever you like. Shop your home first, think way outside the box of how each item can be used and let your imagination run wild.
When installing the sensory board to the wall it was important to me to make sure to screw into studs rather than drywall anchors. This was somewhat heavy and because a toddler would be playing with it and pulling on it, I didn’t want to risk it coming off the wall and causing injury.
To integrate the sensory board into my room’s décor I simply painted an abstract wall mural on and around the board. I’m in love with this new play area and so thrilled that it isn’t an eyesore. I hope I was able to inspire you and give you confidence that you can do this as well!
Sensory Board Materials:
- Plywood, cut down to desired size ( I used 3′ x 4′)
- Sand paper
- Stud finder
- Drill and screw gun
- 4 large wood screws for attaching board to the wall
- Small wood screws for attaching items to the board
- Hot glue or super glue depending on items
- Light switch and plate
- Small hinges
- 2×4 scraps (for “door” and “window”)
- Collapsible hook (for “chimney”)
- Brush head
- Lock mechanism
- Tap light
- Musical instruments
- Trim pieces for ball run
- Accent paint
- Anything and everything your toddler would find interesting
How To Make A Sensory Board:
- Sand down plywood if there are any rough spots
- Gather supplies and lay everything out
- Play around with locations of activities, keeping in mind toddler’s reach
- Assemble everything to the board before attaching to the wall
- Locate studs in your wall to ensure a safe installation
- Pre-drill holes in the board to align with studs in the wall
- Attach the board to the wall with 4 large wood screws
You can find a close up tour of the board as well as the build process on my Instagram highlight labeled “Sensory Board”. Seeing the ball run in action is worth the visit.