What is a Manipulative Board?

Table of contents

  1. The manipulative board – what does it look like and why do children want to play with it?
  2. What elements are worth including on the manipulative board?
  3. No time or access to things? Use pre-made Montessori boards
  4. Activity board – the secret is simplicity

If you’re not yet familiar with what a manipulative board is, be sure to read the text below. The manipulative board, otherwise known as a sensory board or simply an activity board, is gaining in popularity. For many people, this comes as a big surprise – don’t expect a manipulative board to be a form of modern, expensive and large toy that plays, dances, sings or releases smells. The key to the success of Montessori boards is simplicity that meets the child’s most important needs.

The manipulative board – what does it look like and why do children want to play with it?

A sensory board is a board with elements that the child can press, move, close, open… – in other words: touch! By means of touch, sight and hearing, the toddler learns about an increasingly absorbing reality. That is why any buttons, bells, chains or mirrors are the centre of their interest. Wooden puzzles for children work similarly, but with boards we have even more options.

A manipulative board can be made yourself – simple and small objects that you have in your home, garage or attic can become your child’s favourite toy – one that doesn’t get boring but focuses attention. Many modern toys are based on trends and the “wow” factor! Such things may seem attractive at first, but parents and caregivers observe a quick decline in children’s interest. The manipulative board seemingly has nothing to do with the “wow” effect, yet it addresses what children need Its benefits include not only the exercise of attention, but also the development of psychomotor skills. Montessori boards hung on the wall will also work well as interesting decorations for a child’s room. If they are always available – within sight and touch – children will reach for them even more willingly.

What elements are worth including on the manipulative board?

Adults who prepare the manipulative board themselves have the opportunity to stimulate and express creativity. There are a lot of elements that can be placed on the board. Below are examples of items – it’s worth getting inspired by them. A sensory board can include:

  • chains,
  • sliders,
  • large buttons,
  • calculator,
  • belt buckle,
  • buttons,
  • zippers,
  • keys from an old computer keyboard,
  • computer mouse,
  • Velcro straps,
  • bells,
  • light switches,
  • gears,
  • shoelaces,
  • ribbons and coloured tapes,
  • keys,
  • mirrors,,
  • handles on furniture fronts,
  • padlocks,
  • knobs from the radio,
  • hooks,
  • bicycle trumpets,
  • beads.

What criteria should be considered when looking for useful elements? Just choose things that are suitable for pulling, pushing, sliding or bumping. They have different textures and scents. In this way, the toddler will be intrigued and called to action – for many hours!

No time or access to things? Use pre-made Montessori boards

Not every parent or caregiver has time to prepare an activity board. Nor does everyone have access to the variety of simple elements that could be included on the board. In such situations, it is advisable to reach for ready-made products available in toy stores. In Woobiboo, there is more than one manipulative board, each differing in its included components and size. This allows you to choose the board that seems most attractive to you.

Activity board – the secret is simplicity

As the name suggests, a manipulative board is used for manipulation – a child, through their senses (touch, sight, and hearing), can play with simple objects and develop their psychomotor skills. When inventing toys for children, it’s worthwhile to be guided by simplicity and timelessness. A manipulative board is like a colouring book or wooden educational toys – regardless of the changing times, they always respond to the needs of toddlers.

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