If you’ve heard of sensory boards before, you may be wondering if you can make a sensory board by yourself at home. After all, these boards don’t exactly come cheap if you’re planning on buying them online. Making these yourself will save you a few extra bucks and may turn out to be a fun activity.
Sensory boards are surprisingly easy to make, and you don’t have to worry about using any fancy tools and materials to get started. A few simple materials and tools (most of which you likely have at home already) should be enough to make a simple but effective sensory board for your baby or toddler.
In this article, we’ll take you through the basics of what a sensory board is along with explicit instructions on how you can make on. Also, if you’d rather purchase a sensory board than make one, we’ve featured product reviews towards the end of the article to help you make a well-informed purchase regarding the same.
What Is a Sensory Board?
A sensory board is a board that contains different objects that your child can explore and identify. These boards have various items attached to them which allow your toddler to view, touch, and play with. In doing so they’ll first be able to examine then eventually identify these objects.
These boards provide a medium for your toddler to experience what is known as sensory play. It’s not much different from using a toy, except that it’s made with the intent to educate rather than entertain. However, this doesn’t mean that your child won’t enjoy using a sensory board.
Sensory boards are useful to teach very young children such as infants and toddlers how to visually identify various common objects. It stimulates various senses and allows them to indulge their time healthily. Sensory boards are widely available in toy stores and other departmental stores across the country, in addition to being available on various platforms online.
However, since these boards contain only a few basic objects, they can be made at home as well with minimal fuss.
Why Sensory Boards Are Important
To let your child’s brain develop and absorb vital information quickly, you’ll need to expose them to some audio and visual experiences. In other words, sensory experiences are integral to a baby or toddler’s progress, and using them doesn’t just entertain your child, it educates them as well.
The only reason these boards remain popular after all these years is that children love them. By using this board, your child will learn how to process information using sensory inputs, which contributes to overall brain development in a big way. This in turn will help them identify other objects in their environment over time.
One of the many benefits of using a sensory board is that it stimulates more than one of your toddler’s senses. These boards help engage your child’s sense of touch, sight, smell, and even sound. Besides, your child will have to move about and identify different objects on the board rather than sit in one place and point them out.
This would greatly help progress the development of their motor skills as well. However, this was us looking at the educational and practical benefits of using a sensory board. You’d be surprised at how entertaining your toddler will find them as well.
If you make a good sensory board with objects your baby is sure to find interesting, you’ll have them entertained and amused for hours together. After all, it doesn’t take that much to entertain a toddler and you can never know for sure what they find interesting. Therefore, with the help of a sensory board, you’ll be able to spark their curiosity and keep them occupied safely and healthily.
Things To Bear In Mind
When it comes to making a sensory board, there isn’t much you can do wrong. The main factor to keep in mind here is to use safe materials. No matter how firmly you attach objects to your sensory board, there’s always a possibility that they’ll come off at some point.
Therefore, you’ll need to be extra cautious and use only the safest, non-toxic materials on your sensory board.
Once you’ve taken care of the safety aspect, it’s time to move on to what the actual objects on your board will be. Most of those who enjoy making sensory boards at home usually do so with specific themes in mind. For instance, you could first teach your toddler about the natural environment using mud, flowers, etc.
The idea is to have your child learn how to examine and identify objects and materials they’ll encounter often. You could even attach common objects you use regularly around the house to your sensory board. As you can see, you don’t need to spend too much money or put in too much effort to find the materials to fill your sensory board with.
Besides, it doesn’t take too much time to prepare such boards either. However, we’d strongly advise you not to leave things till the last minute and start creating a sensory board on impulse. Keeping the right materials and tools ready to make the board will save you a good amount of time and effort when you sit down to make one.
Related: How To Make Sensory Bottles
Let us briefly discuss the materials you’ll need to make a sensory board at home for your baby or toddler. You likely won’t require all of these materials for a single sensory board, but we’ve included them here anyway to give you an idea of what goes into making a good sensory board for your child to play with.
- Pieces of discarded fabric
- A board made of wood or cardboard
- A glue gun or glue stick (for cardboard)
- A small drilling machine (for wood)
- Strips of Velcro
- Light switches
- Sequins and glitter (non-toxic)
- Metal chains
- Pencils, erasers, and marker pens
- Shells, leaves, stones, and other natural objects
A word of caution: keep your toddler well away from you when you’re making the sensory board. The tools and objects you’ll be using can prove to be harmful to your toddler to play with before you’ve finished assembling your board. Also, don’t leave your toddler unsupervised in the room in which you’ve collected the aforementioned tools and materials.
Make sure all the materials you use on the board (and the board itself) are as possible because your toddler will be touching these as soon as you’re done making it.
Making The Sensory Board
Finally, let’s get into the specifics of making the sensory board. It may take you about 20-30 minutes to make the board provided you have all the tools materials ready. The following steps – if followed carefully – should be able to provide you with a durable and entertaining sensory board.
- Prepare the base of the board by choosing between wood and cardboard. If using cardboard, keep a glue gun or glue stick on hand and if using wood, keep a drilling machine or self-drilling screws on hand.
- Using a pencil, or marker pen, lightly mark the spots on which you’d like to glue or drill the materials onto.
- Assuming you use glue, glue the fabrics, leaves, old light switches, and other materials you’ve collected onto the board and make sure they stick on firmly. Wipe off any excess glue from the sides once you’ve stuck the object onto the board.
- You can now begin decorating the board using glitter, sequins, and other decorative materials.
- Allow your child to play with the board once the glue has dried and you’re confident none of the objects will come loose.
While most sensory boards are used face-up, you could even use your board in a vertical position. To do so, either drill or pin up your board to a wall or any surface around the house at a height at which your toddler or baby can access all the objects while staying seated.
Also, try and make sure your child doesn’t use the board unsupervised in case the glue becomes ineffective and any of the objects fall apart. If left unsupervised, your toddler could try and swallow any of these objects leading to a potential choking hazard.
Benefits Of Using Sensory Boards
Even though we discussed why sensory boards are important in an earlier section, we thought we’d take you through the many benefits of using such boards for young children such as babies and toddlers who are just learning how to identify different objects. Therefore, the following are the benefits of using a sensory board:
- Allows your child to discover new objects and identify them with time
- It helps stimulate several senses in your toddlers such as sight, touch, smell, and sound
- They encourage your toddler to express curiosity in a safe and healthy way
- It helps improve your child’s motor skills as they’ll need to move their hands about the board
- Over time, your child will be able to identify different objects around them without your help
- Sensory boards help your toddler grow familiar with a variety of textures
- You can create sensory boards by a theme to help your toddler learn different concepts
- It’s very easy to make and requires only a few basic materials, tools, and skills
These are just a few of the many benefits your toddler will experience while using a sensory board. Not only are these boards very easy to put together, but you’ll also spend many an enjoyable day helping your toddler learn something new while using them.
Additional Tips And Tricks
If you’ve followed the steps above you likely have a great sensory board ready for your toddler to play with. However, there are always ways in which you can spruce up your board if you’d like to add extra dimensions to it.
A good way to approach upgrading your board is to add new objects to it whenever your toddler has been able to correctly identify the existing objects.
If your child can successfully identify fabrics, leaves, and other basic objects and materials, you can now move on to more complex ones. You could even add some objects with a playful element to them, such as battery-operated doorbell switches and squeaky toys – which they’re sure to find amusing.
Once your child learns to read small words, you could even mark the objects on your board by writing their names in marker pens under each object. However, this is more useful for older kids than it is for babies and toddlers.
Whatever, you do, make sure you’ve added objects to the board that is diverse in shapes and sizes for your toddler to truly make the most out of this learning experience.
Best Sensory Boards
If you’d rather purchase a sensory board than make one at home, rest assured that you’re not alone. The demand for sensory boards has been on a steady rise over the years, despite more sophisticated learning tools flooding the market. Therefore, in this section, we’ve featured our reviews on the best sensory boards we could find online.
We’ve added the main features, pros, and cons of each of these products below for you to go through and evaluate which board is best suited to your needs.
1. TT Remax Sensory Board
This bright, colorful sensory board has many great features, the best of which is the pain that’s environment-friendly and doesn’t peel off easily. This paint gives the objects on the board a somewhat shiny coating, which your child is sure to find very attractive. Besides, this also makes the surface easy to clean and doesn’t allow for bacteria to grow on it.
You’ll find various colors and textures on this board that are sure to ignite your toddler’s curiosity. Colorful beads, threads, keys, and other objects with varying textures are what make this board quite educational for toddlers. You’re sure to find your child spending hours in front of this sensory board, learning to examine and eventually identify different household objects.
All the parts used in the making of this board are approved by the relevant authorities so you can be sure that it’s completely safe for your toddler to use. What’s more, this product also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee which means that if you’re not happy with the product you’ve received, you can choose to return it within 60 days of purchase.
The brand will then either refund your money or exchange the product you’ve received.
- It’s approved by various boards across the U.S. and is safe for toddlers to use
- It’s made using environment-friendly paint that doesn’t peel off easily
- It contains various colors and textures
- It’s very easy to clean and maintain
- It comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- It’s significantly costlier than other sensory boards available online
2. Esjay Sensory Board With Buckles
This sensory board is completely safe for babies and toddlers as it’s made using fabrics and materials that are completely non-toxic. This sensory board is the softest board we’ve come across so far and its textures are something your baby or toddler is sure to enjoy touching and exploring. It’s currently available in four colors: pink, green, blue and grey.
You’ll find everything from belts and buckles to buttons and laces on this board. In other words, your little ones are sure to be able to identify a variety of shapes and colors once they start using this board regularly. Besides, teaching them to identify objects on the board could turn out to be a great bonding activity for the two of you as well.
There are no less than 14 varieties of objects on this board that your baby will enjoy exploring and identifying since all these objects are colored differently. What sets this board apart from most other sensory boards you’ll find online is that it has alphabets and numbers in addition to basic shapes.
Therefore, you could try and teach your toddler to identify numbers and letters early on with the help of this sensory board. The fact that this board is soft and is made up of mostly fabric makes it very convenient to use while traveling. Additionally, this board comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and you can return or exchange the product within 60 days if you’re not satisfied with your purchase.
- It’s very soft to the touch and contains a variety of textures and colors
- It can be used to entertain your toddler while traveling
- It contains alphabets and numbers as well, which increases its educational value
- It’s very reasonably priced
- It comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- The buttons and belt fasteners are a little challenging to undo
3. Brain Up Toys Locks And Latches Sensory Board
This is by far one of the most colorful and creative sensory boards we’ve come across during our weeks of research. This board is made using wood, which could help explain its hefty price tag and consists of various designs, shapes, and objects. This board is recommended for babies aged 12 months and over.
What we found most interesting about this sensory board is that it relies on puzzles as much as it does on basic colors and textures to help your child learn new concepts. It’s a 9-in1 activity board that has everything from beads and latches to gear wheels and locks. You’ll also find the numbers on this board, which makes it useful to have around children as old as four years of age.
There are so many great textures and objects on this board that your toddler won’t know where to begin. They’ll love that this board makes noise as well and it’ll help engage their sense of sound as they use it.
Even though the materials used in this board are quite hard, you can rest assured that it’s been made using the highest quality materials which are safe for babies and toddlers and don’t have a single sharp edge anywhere.
One of the most impressive features of this sensory board is that it only weighs 3 pounds, despite having so many objects on it and the fact that it’s made out of wood.
- It contains the right kind of objects that will help educate your child
- The beads and bell on the board will help your child stay entertained for hours together
- The board is made using the highest quality materials
- The numbers are useful for older kids who are beginning their journey with school
- The board comes fully assembled and ready to use
- It’s one of the most expensive sensory boards available online
As discussed throughout the article, sensory boards help develop your child’s cognitive skills as well as motor skills. It’s ridiculously easy to make a sensory board at home and you’ll find that you may even have fun making one for your baby or toddler. Depending on what you want your child to learn, you could either use these boards to focus more on sights and textures than smells and sounds.
Many people even use sensory boards to teach their children how to learn in a fun, healthy way. Another way in which many people have taught their children to read is by using the Children Learning Reading program. The reading support services offered by this program will have your child reading confidently in no time, and it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket either.
However, if you think your child can read words easily enough and you wish to take it up a notch, you can use the Hooked on Phonics program that can teach your child to spell successfully. They’ll not only learn new words but also be able to practice these words with the help of the practice packs provided with the course.
All in all, sensory boards are one of the many ways in which you can teach your child to learn new skills, and it’s certainly among the most popular kids’ toys available today. Whether you make the board yourself or choose to purchase one, know that your time and money will be well invested in helping your child grow.