My youngest toddler is the epitome of "give a kid a toy and they play with the box".
Like, seriously. He has hardly any actual toys that he continually enjoys playing with. His favorite "toys" are remotes, phones, light switches, door knobs, car keys, and his sound machine. So we tried all of the "toy" options of these things: the fisher price toy remote, the Battat actual metal keys (they're pretty cool though), and still, this guy just knows the difference.
My patience is lacking these days... is that a pregnancy symptom? ;) And I was being driven crazy by this toddling fella who wouldn't play with anything and chose to follow me around instead. I saw a few options to purchase a board with all of his favorite things on them, but the price deterred me. A neighbor recommended I check out Home Depot and make my own. Low and behold, it was much easier than I imagined. Full disclaimer: I had my husband drill them onto the board for me.
Want to make your own?
It's simple! At any local hardware store, you can find toddler fidget-gadget heaven. I found a "medium density fiber board" to use as the backing, and it feels like a very thick and heavy cardboard. I chose it because it's lighter, smoother, and less expensive than wood. This board was precut to a 24"x24" square and was located by the pegboard and chalkboard at our Home Depot.
Once I had the board picked out, I went into the door hardware aisle, the plumbing aisle, and the electrical aisle. I chose whichever gadgets I thought would keep my toddler the busiest. There are so many options to customize it to your child's interests, too!
Total cost was right around $40.
Do you have a kid who prefers ordinary objects over toys?