Diy: the activity table

turn, open, push, knock, stack, click-clack… magic words and activities for a toddler! In order to combine all this, we built ourselves (after a horrified look at the prices of ready-assembled examples) an activity toy. How it works? I like to give away!

What belongs on an activity board?

You can get many elements in the hardware store or online (follow the link):

  • a rubber wheel aka castor (ideally in and also rotatable around itself)
  • a storm hook closure
  • a snap latch closure (should be absolutely smooth-running, if necessary. oil or soap)
  • an overtrap (lockable with a stick to stick through)
  • a drawer handle (must be absolutely movable, so that it clicks-clacks)
  • electric animal voices to press on or music box with hand crank
  • a folding pocket mirror
  • a light switch (electricians’ dads can certainly do this even with a coupled light effect; with us it only clicks)
  • bells
  • All kinds of fasteners: Snap fasteners, velcro, laces, click fastener/plug-in fastener according to Montessori with open base (so you can fasten them well) with children’s motif with hammer

Other ideas that we have not (yet) implemented in our house:

  • a discarded cell phone (ideally installed in such a way that it can be charged) or play smartphone
  • an outlet with a plug on the cord (sure great for learning, but we ban outlets otherwise and didn’t want to make an exception here) for kids or computer mouse
  • Computer keyboard or. Number pad with dial and handset
  • … everything that can be moved, operated, played with (ideally without dismantling and dragging)!!

How to build an activity table?

  1. All elements must necessarily be firmly anchored, so that no small parts can disappear (Attention: Danger of swallowing or hiding)!). We drilled holes in the board and pulled cable ties through – ready to go. Hot glue gun and double-sided tape were rather middling successes. The closures I have applied to halved IKEA CD shelf boards. The superfluous boards of our BENNO had exactly the right size: I covered them with fabric (painting is also possible).
  2. Many parts one has in the household, for example a discarded shoelace that can be threaded into an old (children’s) shoe, an old bicycle bell, mom’s vanity mirror from disco days gone by, the snap fasteners from a bodysuit that had become too small, the click fastener from a child’s chair, grandma’s old telephone..
  3. Small surprises provide additional joyIf you open the door, which is locked with a latch, a photo is hidden behind it (in our case: a smooch picture of us, which often inspires Fips to "give a kiss"). If you open the zipper, the "pocket" underneath sometimes contains a play animal o.a.

Little story on the side: The story behind our activity table

Normally Activity Boards can be hung on the wall. However, we had a half-height side table sitting around – unused, but with history.

The Table top was part of the work table I had dusted off in 2004 during my internship at a bookbindery in Hamburg (to do a bit of name-dropping: It belonged to the bookbinder who proofread Cornelia Funke’s "Inkheart"). Bookbinder would have been a dream job, but it didn’t become one. Instead I wrote my bachelor thesis and some of my books on this board.

The curved Table legs are real art nouveau and therefore a bit older than the tabletop. Although only bought on ebay, but dragged through Berlin on a very memorable evening.

I assembled the table with two ex-friends: One of them sawed the top to size. And from the second one I was just freshly separated and we both thought that this joint building action would be the last thing we would ever do together…

Well. Life had other plans – with us and with the table. My then ex-boyfriend number 2 you know by now as Fips-Papa! And I can’t think of a better "purpose" for Mann& Furniture as the one it fulfills now ❤

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