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)
- 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?
- 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).
- 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..
- 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 ❤