montessori learning: DIY busy-board


I've recently run into Montessori-type learning for children and it really lines up with what I've been trying to do with Ladybug. For the most part, it seems to be practical learning with every day items to refine motor skills and learn. I'm not really into putting tinies in school per say, but I love that she can learn while we live our normal life. And I can do easy, already in our house, activities to keep her busy like pouring beans or rice into containers, washing dishes, helping me cook, learning why things float/sink or are hot/warm/cold, etc. Montessori really pushes have children-sized things to work with (like child sized tables, tools to work with, etc.) and I agree in part, although I think it can go overboard. Plus, we don't have the space or resources right now to have a miniature-sized everything.

That said, here is a project I've been working on for our 6 hour trip to Iowa this weekend.

A DIY Montessori "busy board".

I used all recycled/vintage items except the black plastic buckle and the metal eyelets - so using what I had, in all this probably cost me about $5.

For this I created (from left top, clockwise) large buttons/holes, lacing, elastic pull & button, buckle, hook & loop, a small snap, zipper, bowtie, and a hook & eye.

Some will be simple like the velcro and zipper ... others will take some practice as her skills develop. I designed it that way on purpose.

 Here it is all undone and ready for a busy two-year old!

And a front to back look. I sewed on all of the notions before I put it together like an envelope pillow. Sort of. Then, Jeremy cut me a thin piece of veneer (left over from THIS project) to fit and make it sturdy.

If I were to do it again, I think I would've:

1) just sewn it together - the envelope was difficult to fit over wood ... it's not flexible like a pillow. ;-) Luckily the vintage polyester (remember seeing THIS dress makeover?) was a little bit stretchy. I thought I may want to put something on the back in the future - so this was the option I chose.

2) I might've left the eyelets off. You really need a good tool to do them right, not just the little kits you can buy at the hobby store. They're a little rough. And I need to replace the ribbon with a reclaimed shoe lace - I just haven't found one yet.

That's it!! what do you think? I'll let you know how it works in the car.

As for resources, here are some books I've flipped through:

And I'm going to read these two ...

Any other Montessori learning fans out there? Any other resources you would recommend?


And here is an Etsy shop full of fun whimsical Montessori learning toys.

 Aren't they cute? I think I've just gotten another project brewing on my list...

(And what about these clouds!)


  1. Anonymous12:25 PM

    wow!! i really like it! =D great idea!! <3 Jenn

  2. I love this! You are so talented :-) Love the montessori, love the new blog look, and love the m&m's too! So sweet!