Busy Board

Color Changing Activity Board for Toddlers

At the age of 2, M was pretty adventuros and kept us busy tidying up closets  and drawers. Part of our effort to keep his little hands busy, was to make him an activity board (busyboard). Here he could explore to his heart content, without any risk of cuts, burns, poisoning, electrocution or breaking expensive items. The board itself is nothing new.

Basically you cut a piece of fiberboard or plywood to desired size, paint it as you like, populate the board with whatever your child likes and mount the board to a suitable wall.

Our son had a special intrest in switches and colored lights and to accomodate that, I decided to mount 3 switches each controlling one channel of an RGB LED. The idea is that the individual colors can be turned on or off, one by one, enabling the child to mix the colors. The result can be seen in the video below.

The light feature is designed to be inexpensive and very easy to build. Its based on a single 5mm RGB common anode LED with voltage reducing resistors for each color.  However individual leds for each color could just as easily have been used. I used hot glue to diffuse the light.

The diagram below shows the curcuit alongside my ghetto implementation of it.

diagram and implementation

As seen I built it using whatever I had lying around that day, making this instance of the project very inexpensive and low impact. Except for paint, solder and hot glue every part is made with salvaged materials.

When someone sees the board for the first time, children and adults alike, they seem to go straight for the light switches and stay there –  fascinated.


2 thoughts on “Color Changing Activity Board for Toddlers”

  1. I love the activity board. I want to build one for my son for Christmas. Where can I get the materials…resistors, bulb, switches.

    1. Thanks, glad you liked it. LEDs and resistors were originally bought off ebay from sellers in China. If however you have a deadline shorter than 4-6 weeks away (like say 24th of December) you are probably better off finding a local vendor of electronic elements and getting a few of each (in case something goes wrong during assembly). Smaller companies might even be willing to match the apropriate value resistors for you, taking out some of the guess work. I did it kinda backwards. I had a bag of RGB LEDs with unknown values (voltage and amperes) and a few different lower value resisters lying around, and basically experimented my way to a desirable led brightnes (resistor value) for each channel on the LED (red, blue and green channels have different power needs). Resistors can be added in series or parallel connection to give different ohm values (google: resistor calculator). Switches can be obtained from the same source as the other electronics, I got mine from an old Ikea lamp, a wall switch and an old piece of electronic equipment. If you havnt guessed it yet I like giving old salvaged parts a new life in things I build.

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