Although I’d never heard of them before, there is apparently a genre of Montessori busy boards featuring tactile items for toddlers to lift, open, spin, twist, turn, and otherwise manipulate, which are quite popular. These boards are not cheap (some of the more bespoke ones on Etsy run upwards of $150!) but you can purchase a relatively cheap alternative at sites like Amazon.
If you’re feeling truly crafty, make your own from upcycled items around the house – a doorbell, an old latch, a panel to lift – and attach securely to a wooden or fiberboard frame. The key is things your baby can manipulate to hone those fine motor skills.
I wasn’t feeling that crafty, so did opt for a mid-priced version from the store. And Veronika loved it! As she played, I used verb words to talk about her actions. She could spin…
….open or unlatch…
And more! Her favorite turned out to be a little button.
Although not actually an old doorbell, every time she switched the button from one position to the other I said, “Ding dong!”
As you can tell from her smile, this was a huge hit.
The “busy” part of these boards is that they can keep your little one occupied while you do other things around the house.