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As my son started to get to an age where pretend play and learning words were coming up fast, I knew there had to be some inexpensive, simple boards I could make that would make updating the activities (as his development progressed) simple and easy. In the end, I created two different activity boards:
It’s no secret (if you have read my blog) that I love felt crafts (see the Felt Quiet Books page for more activities!). Felt materials are generally inexpensive and widely available either by individual sheets or at your local fabric store by yard. Each of these boards uses felt in one way or another, but if felt isn’t your favorite material, you can try basic fabric instead. While I love shopping for new and fun items to create with, try to use what you have on hand if you (like most of us) are budget conscious!
Basic Felt Board
The Basic Felt Board is the easiest board to create and can be played with in many ways. The idea of this board is to have a felt-to-felt “sticky” play area where the felt items will stay in place without needing glue, tape or other fastener. Play is generally done with the board flat on the ground or leaning against the wall with other flat objects (like the vehicles shown in the image).
The board can be used for tons of free play activities:
- Underwater scene (or any other habitat)
- Dress Up (like a paper doll activity but in felt)
- Numbers and Letters
- Animals (any type)
All you need is a poster board, a large piece of soft felt (to fit around the board), glue, scissors and felt items for play.
Lift the Flap
While this activity board is a little more involved than the felt board, there are a LOT of learning activities you can do with your child. Even when I looked on Pinterest, I didn’t have an easy time finding exactly what I wanted to make – the designs were either too simple (so lost value over time) or were way too complicated to make within my budget and how long I would allow myself to work on it!
To create this board, you will need poster board, colored felt, glue (glue gun), index cards, scissors, pens/pencil, and index card holders. For more advanced creation, you may also want to use magnets and/or velcro.
With this board, you can create an array of learning activities for your child(ren) from shapes, colors, animals, words, geography, pretty much anything you can think of!
BONUS: Farm Scene
Seriously, felt scraps are your friend when doing these kinds of crafts. I just keep a box just for scraps to hunt through when I just need a small piece of a certain color or type (saves you from cutting into a new piece). This scene was meant to be items to place on the Basic Felt Board, but the craft turned into a scene that I CAN place on the felt board to keep it from sliding around (but the farm scene can be a stand-alone activity). While I made a farm, you can use your imagination to make a polar habitat, underwater habitat, construction site, or any other scene you can think of. Here are the supplies I used:
- Felt scraps (soft or stiffened)
- 2 large, stiffened felt pieces (backing)
- Felt glue or glue gun
- Activity play pieces – examples: plastic animals, small play plants, animal fencing, and others
There is no pattern for this one! Just grab your felt scraps and start piecing them together into water, grass, dirt, any farm area you want to include (and have the scraps to create!). I just took the two, large stiffened felt pieces and glued the miscellaneous pieces to it until I had an area for farming, a dirt area (horses, pigs, etc), grass and water. Then, I gathered my son’s farm toys and he had a blast!
I did leave the very center of my “frankenstein” like creation without stiffened felt so that I can fold the scene in half when not in use.