A screen-free focus booster with proven fine motor benefits — busy boards cram all kinds of fidgety-fun thingamajigs into a single learning surface.
The main reason people say your toddler needs a busy board is — they bridge fine motor development with practical real-life applications.
Your kid will learn how to better dress themselves, how to access more places around the house, and (my favorite) gain self-confidence with all these new skills.
Busy boards are available for every stage in your child’s early years of development. Most busy boards are intended for children starting at 1 or 2 years old.
Certain simple scratch-free busy boards are safe even for newborns — and on the other side of the spectrum — other heavy-duty busy boards intended for ages 3 years and up include some mildly intimidating objects.
We could get busy talking… How about let’s get busy shopping instead!
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Best Toddler Busy Board — Last Minute Shopper’s Quicklist
It’s 2021 — so here are the year’s 21 best wooden busy boards for babies and toddlers.
No fluff. Let’s fidget!
- (01) DeMoca Wooden Busy Board For Toddlers
- (02) Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board
- (03) Brain Up Eco Busy Board For Babies (1+ Year)
- (04) Loyalse 20-In-1 Practical Learner Busy Board
- (05) Busy Puzzle Personalized Name Busy Board
- (06) Smart Wooden Toys Fantasy Play Busy Board
- (07) Easy Tiger Edu-Designer Busy Board
- (08) Boobo Toys On-The-Go Wooden Busy House Cube
- (09) Laser Temple Laser-Cut 3D Busy Board (8+ Months)
- (10) Bumble Bee Smart Modular Wooden Busy Wall
- (11) Melissa & Doug Take-Along Wooden Doorbell Dollhouse
- (12) Brain Up Toys Handheld Toddler Travel Busy Cube
- (13) Beezy Boards Truck-Shaped Toddler Busy Board Gift
- (14) Haba Town Maze Magnetic Busy Puzzle Game (2-5 Years)
- (15) Happy Home Family Workshop Nordic Wood Busy Board
- (16) Easy Busy Large STEM Educational Busy Board
- (17) Fox Family Boutique Special-Shape Wooden Busy Board
- (18) Maxi Baby Toys Electronic Busy Switchboard
- (19) Panda Brothers Montessori Screw Driver Board
- (20) Pidoko Kids “All About Today” Busy Clock Board
- (21) Melissa & Doug Hide & Seek Wood Magnet Busy Board
Busy Toy Types — Busy Board vs Busy Cube vs Alternatives
Overwhelmed amidst the wooden toy renaissance we are experiencing today — it’s hard to keep up with the lingo for early years learning toys!
So we know what a busy board is — a flat sturdy wooden board with toddler-friendly gears, cogs, clocks, zippers, latches, and other fidgets secured onto the surface.
But what’s all the ruckus about other “Wooden Busy Toys” — in new shapes & sizes with exciting play themes & learning objectives?
At any moment in time, there’s a wooden toy maker out there somewhere — busy scheming an all-new style of busy play experience — it’ll be the world’s most creative toddler busy toy and the world will love them for it. Back from daydreams of the world’s best wooden busy toy — now let’s see this entrepreneuring toymaker’s real-world competition!
“Beyond The Board” — before you decide a busy board is best for your play and learning objectives — here are 5 other activity-centered toddler and baby toys to consider. They’re similar to the busy board — and with a quick peek!
- “Busy” Activity Cube like Battat’s
- “Busy” Activity Center like Manhattan Toy’s
- “Busy” Activity Table like Melissa & Doug’s
- “Busy” Fidget House like Boobo Toys’
- “Busy” Sensory Bin like Simply To Play’s
Check out our full reviews to find a wooden activity cube or wooden activity table to keep your little one calm and focused.
Busy Board Materials — Wood, Metal, Plastic & Cloth
Standard busy board bases are made of wood. Fidgets, tinkers, and doodads of all materials are secured onto the busy board surface.
The more realistic the busy object — the more prepared kids will be to apply their busy-learned skills to real-life objects.
Busy boards are available with bases in non-wood material matters too. Before we dive deep into the wooden variety — let’s quickly make sure wood is the right choice for you.
Flashy Plastic & Electronic
Here at Oddblocks stay away from plastic-manufactured busy boards — because we prefer eco-materials.
VTech brand offers a popular plastic busy board so you can see what it’s like. Ever seen an electronic wooden busy board? Yes, it exists — in full flash-o-matic splendor (#18 on the list).
Travel-Friendly Cloth Busy Briefcase
With shoulder-bag handles and fold-out fidgets — La La Llama brand’s toddler busy board briefcase is the self-proclaimed “Original” — and Ysagi brand’s busy briefcase is an excellent example of a semi-soft busy bag designed for convenient travel by air, sea, or land.
P.P. Oupoint brand makes it extra fun with a portable & foldable felt crocodile-shaped busy board.
Lightweight Cloth & Cardboard Bundle Packs
A large busy board supports up to 3 busy learners at the same time — so a set of separate life skill learning boards makes tons of sense for childcare facilities or households with significant sibling rivalry.
Yiisun brand’s 6-pack of lightweight cardboard and polyester busy cards is a great example of how to get groups of kids focused without breaking the bank.
Other Noteworthy Materials
Buckle Toys offers a budget-friendly foam busy board, Faufulis Fashion makes quilted busy boards, and Mini Moms brand makes crafty scrapbook style busy boards. Really the list goes on and on. Show me the beef!
21 Best Wooden Busy Boards In 2021
(01) DeMoca Wooden Busy Board For Toddlers
Playful enough to entertain for hours and Montessori enough to teach some serious fine motor skills — you’ll see the difference when your kiddo’s tying their shoes or locking the door on the way to the car.
DeMoca brand’s 15” by 11” inch is a standard pick that’s exactly what a busy board should be — and nothing it shouldn’t. If you’re on a deadline — pick your favorite between bright rainbow or natural earthtone colors and call it donezo.
(02) Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board
Measuring just under 16” by 12” inches — it’s perfect for curious tabletop fidgeting for toddlers 3 to 6 years old — and has a friendly low price.
With various real metal latches, hinges, and locks — to open real moving doors that uncover mysteries behind them — it’s a great way to build your child’s dexterity on a budget.
(03) Brain Up Eco Busy Board For Babies (1+ Year)
Super-duper featured, wonderfully colorful, and available in every size from mini (10” by 11” inch) to extra-large (32” by 26” inch) — Brain Up is a “Gold-Star Busy Board Expert” offering standard rectangular boards and all sorts of unique fun shapes.
Specialty-shaped natural wood busy boards — in the educational school bus and friendly teddy bear styles — are ready to get the gears turning with your toddler! A limited selection of Brain up activity boards are available on Amazon.
(04) Loyalse 20-In-1 Practical Learner Busy Board (1-4 Years)
With 20 different fidgets for your little one to explore — it’s a 20” by 18” inch practical learning busy board.
Large enough to support a variety of stimulating hands-on exercises to boot eye-hand coordination and learn life skills. Not to mention — you’ll love the tripod support beam — so you can prop the board upright on any flat surface.
(05) Busy Puzzle Personalized Name Busy Board
Custom-made with wooden block letters that spell your kiddo’s name — plus beautiful contemporary colors and designs. It’s the most memorable gift for baby and early years milestones — available in an appetizing variety of styles, themes, and excellent color choices.
Like a busy board remixed into a personalized name puzzle — and a top-quality children’s gift!
(P.S. For comparison, check out Brain Up brand’s name puzzle busy board on Etsy.)
(06) Smart Wooden Toys Fantasy Play Busy Board
Some parents don’t like busy boards because — they say — busy boards are asymmetrical, cluttered, and overall just don’t look very nice. For certain kids’ utility busy boards — that’s a valid point.
Smart Wooden Toys brand’s collection of fantasy-themed busy boards is adorned with artistic pretend play scenes for an added visual appeal and imaginative play.
(07) Easy Tiger Edu-Designer Busy Board
Combining educational objectives with a contemporary design — probably the best-looking on the list — you’ll love the IKEA-esque soft color palettes matches with pure natural wood for a simple, beautiful, Nordic feel.
For ages 12 months and up — when baby’s not guiding basic shapes through squiggly mazes or locking up their best friend’s secret — just put it on the coffee table for a conversation piece that matches your interior decor.
(P.S. You can personalize it with the custom name letters too!)
(08) Boobo Toys On-The-Go Wooden Busy House Cube
A house-detailed busy cube for 12+ months — with a handle for easy transport in the car. With adorable stylings and cartoon characters to play peek-a-boo with behind real-working windows — it’s available in your color choice of unisex yellow, baby blue, or baby pink.
Just so you know — certain other wooden busy house toys are more like the dollhouse-style play frame you’re used to. If you’re looking for this style — check out brands like Mickyu and APVTI. An even wider variety of Boobo Toys 6-face busy boards are available on Etsy.
Alternatively, Laser Temple is the only other wooden busy house I recommend — it’s shaped like an actual two-story house with roof and all.
(09) Laser Temple Laser-Cut 3D Busy Board (8+ Months)
A perfect cube ≈12” inches — it’s a (count it) 21-busy-activities-in-1 development box for children 8 months old to 4 years old. Precision laser cut from pure plywood.
Take your color pick of natural wood or bold color busy board faces — with classic busy station favorites like a clock, gears, and shoelaces — plus tons of surprises like a fidget spinner, honking horn, and desk chair wheel. Quirky and curious for tots of all ages to dive into!
(10) Bumble Bee Smart Modular Wooden Busy Wall
For daycares, preschools, family doctor waiting rooms, or any place with lots of kids with time to kill — why buy 100 individual busy boards, when you could fashion a complete “Busy Wall”.
Bumble Bee brand’s large busy board wall panels are a tidy compromise between a store-bought and custom-made busy board for your play facility. You could buy, manage, and maintain a slew of individual kids’ busy boards — headache — or you could get a simple set of large modular wooden busy board panels to neatly hang on your wall.
At ≈25” inches tall and 16” wide (but sizes do vary), each panel comes with simple-as-possible perforations to easily fit standard wall hangers and mounts.
(11) Melissa & Doug Take-Along Wooden Doorbell Dollhouse
A mini-sized busy house with a perfect little handle to take it along for any travel or on-the-go errands.
Intended for ages 3 to 6 years — the tiny pretend house has electronic doorbell sounds (with 2 AAA batteries required). A set of 4 little play people come included. Measuring just 9” by 7” by 7” inches — open any of the many latches, locks, and other door-stopping puzzles to pack the family of pretend play dolls into the home.
Grab the pint-sized playhouse, and it’s take it wherever you need to go.
(12) Brain Up Toys Handheld Toddler Travel Busy Cube
No, your eyes are not deceiving you — that’s a handheld busy cube. Can you think of any better type of busy board to take on a road trip? It’s easy to take anywhere — with intricate beads that ignite children’s imagination when you look up close.
For a travel-friendly busy board — Handheld is the way to go! You can explore more Brain Up busy creations on Etsy.
(13) Beezy Boards Truck-Shaped Toddler Busy Board Gift
Got a kid who loves fire trucks, school buses, trucks, vans, tractors, or just big boxy vehicles in general?
Beezy’s original “Wooden Busy Truck” has working lights, intertwined gears, securely-fastened locks, and realistic clothing zippers and buckles. It comes with an all-natural cardboard and twine gift box — to put a little smile on little people’s faces.
(14) Haba Town Maze Magnetic Busy Puzzle Game (2-5 Years)
It’s not exactly classified as a bonafide busy board — but it’s got some interesting similarities strengthening your little logistician’s fine motor skills, color recognition, and general problem-solving skills.
As a wood-panel marble maze with a child-safe transparent surface — your 2 to 5 year old toddler will need to maneuver the marbles to different destinations in the city map maze. A wooden marble puzzle with a magnetized pen to keep toddlers busy indeed!
(15) “Happy Home Family Workshop” Nordic White & Natural Wood Busy Board
If the folks from IKEA got together with the folks from Lily & River — with the sole purpose to design a busy board — I think “Happy Home Family Workshop” is basically it!
Made in soft nursery-friendly off-white and pure natural wood tones — it’s a busy board for baby angels — almost as pure as the love between parent and child.
(16) Easy Busy Large STEM Educational Busy Board
Here at Oddblocks, visual appeal is one big reason why we love wooden toys in the first place.
Looking at this busy board — when they say “Large”, they deliver on the promise. With a hefty 26” by 20” play surface. With every square inch of these busy boards occupied by some STEM-tastic thingamajig, Easy Busy brand busy boards — I’ve got to say — are busy, cluttered, and chaotic — kind of like the brain of a scientist.
I fear sometimes, I let my own preference for creative features, simple shapes, and bold colors get in the way of science and math-focused parents. This one’s a busy board Scandi-parents will really dislike — but it’s one of the best picks for toddler STEM learning, and that’s something logical parents will love.
(17) Fox Family Boutique Specialty-Shape Wooden Busy Board
Get ready for some extremely imaginative busy board characters and vehicles ahead! Busy boards made in all kinds of special shapes? Yes, please!
Fox Family Boutique brand’s got you covered with the perfect handmade wooden busy boards — in exactly the shape of your kiddo’s favorite kind of wheeled vehicle (car, train, dump truck, tractor, airplane, sea ship, rocket ship, etc.) or animal (teddy bear, tyrannosaurus rex, raccoon, etc).
I know a few kids on my Christmas list who’d certainly like a “Toddler-Sized Busy Teddy Bear” or two!
(18) Maxi Baby Toys Mission Control Busy Electronic Switchboard
“Press the red button, Dave” — Maxi Baby Toys brand’s retro-futuristic busy switchboards look exactly like a dynamite igniter box from Indiana Jones.
With a series of interconnected handsets, briefcases, wires, buttons, switches, and flash-o-rama switchboard lights — it’s the perfect busy play set for toddlers to recreate their own indie Sci-Fi film.
Go gold mining, control a double-agent secret base, or safely send the first-ever baby kitten to the moon. With science, electricity, engineering, and binary on the mind — your littler learner’s set up to achieve “Mission Impossible”.
(19) Panda Brothers Montessori Screw Driver Board
Specific to twisting, turning, and screwing for kids 3 to 5 years old — it’s the practical learning from a Montessori busy board.
Compact in size at just 8” by 4” inches — the set includes a small utility screwdriver and wrench duo — the same small-sized adult tools to use for a real DIY project (not an abstracted cutesy version).
Panda Brothers brand is my top pick in the category. If screwdriver is your style — other brands like Mont Pleasant and Deartisan are worth a peek before you buy.
(20) Pidoko Kids “All About Today” Busy Clock Board
Like a Montessori clock board for toddlers and preschoolers to learn “All About Today” — it’s not exactly a standard busy board — but it sure helps kids to plan their busy day!
Moving the hands of the analog clock to set hour and minute — that’s an important life skill — and that’s why I think it’s worth a mention here alongside a family of busy boards.
(21) Melissa & Doug Hide & Seek Wooden Magnet Activity Board
With nine curious hinged doors and little wooden magnet pieces hidden inside — it’s the classic memory matching game — “Which item is behind Door #3?” — plus great fine motor practice with the opening-and-closing mechanism. It’s also available in farm theme.
One downside is its limited variety of busy play gear — in fact, the 9 doors are functionally identical. But it’s a type of busy-style kids board worth seeing before you buy.