If you are looking for the best wall decoration ideas for a public facility where people come with kids, consider sensory wall panels. Such an item is also known as an activity wall for toddlers, an activity board or a busy board. These terms are synonyms and are interchangeable.
This educational toy is often marketed as a sensory wall for classroom. But in fact, you can place it in many other locations. It is perfectly suitable for the following types of premises.
- For cafes
- For kindergartens
- For pediatric clinics
- For dental clinics
- For churches
- For waiting rooms
This will give a significant competitive edge to your venue. When people with kids will be choosing which cafe or clinic to go to, they will be more likely to visit yours.
And of course, you can buy a busy board for your house and attach it to a wall or furniture in your kid’s room!
The target age group of this educational toy is toddlers and preschool children. Grown-ups do not need to teach them how to use a sensory board. As soon as the kids see it, they will be glad to explore it and invent exciting games with it. The board will keep the small ones entertained for a long time, while adults can be busy with their own affairs.
What Is a Sensory Wall
Sensory boards for the wall consist of one or several panels with multiple small items attached to them. These are just a few examples of such items.
- Zip closures
- Locks and keys
- Pieces of fabrics
- Analog clocks
- Plug and sockets (without electricity!)
- Moveable cars and trains
- Smiling faces
- Funny animals
- And so on
Kids touch these items, play with them and invent different stories. Thanks to their vivid imagination, the little ones can never get enough of such kind of entertainment.
In shops, you might come across a compact cube-shaped play board for toddlers. This one is not supposed to be attached to the wall. It will keep your kid calm, busy and entertained in a car, on a train, on a picnic or in your countryside house.
The Theory Behind the Sensory Wall for Schools
Such toys are also known as Montessori busy boards. The Montessori principles suggest that kids are curious by their nature. Grown-ups do need to motivate them to explore the surrounding world. Children have an inherent desire to touch and inspect every object that they come across. Adults just need to create a safe environment for them where they can move freely and absorb information.
When kids play with a sensory wall, they get to know the names of different objects and their characteristics. They expand their vocabulary. They learn to classify and categorize things. They begin to verbalize their emotions and formulate their thoughts clearly.
A busy board is the easiest and the most enjoyable way of teaching the small ones how to use household utensils and everyday appliances. Once the child gets to know how to use a latch, they will never lock themselves in the bathroom. Thanks to gamification, boys and girls become more enthusiastic. They effortlessly acquire such skills that would seem too difficult for them in a more «serious» environment.
Activity panels enable the small ones to hone their fine motor skills — that is, coordinate the movements that they make with their fingers. Such skills involve writing with a pen, using scissors or eating with a fork and a knife. Kids need to develop them before they go to school.
Children diagnosed with autism benefit a lot from such toys. Sensory play helps them to calm down and better perceive information. Autistic kids become able to learn and memorize such things that they might fail to understand otherwise.
Kids who had a chance to play with a busy board at an early age grow up smart, happy and proactive. They are sociable and they perform better at school. They are not afraid of making mistakes and learning from them.
Why Is It the Best Wall Decoration
Sensory boards for the wall are popular all over the world and never go out of fashion. These are their primary benefits.
- All kids love them, regardless of age, gender and individual traits of character.
- They are safe. All the items are firmly attached to the board so the kids cannot tear them off accidentally.
- They help kids to develop on both physical and intellectual levels.
- They encourage open-ended play — that is, a game that has no end and can go on forever. Its participants do not need to achieve any particular goals and can exercise their creativity without limits.
Busy boards for preschoolers can easily fit an interior of any style. They are colorful and elegant. They look equally stunning in photos and real life. Both children and their parents will be very happy to see such an item on the wall of a public facility.
Why Is It Better to Buy an Activity Wall for toddlers and Not Make a DIY One
People who are good at crafts might think that it would be more cost-efficient to make a sensory wall rather than buy one. However, that would not be a wise idea.
- You should not attach to a sensory panel any random items that you find in your storage room. Professionals who create busy boards understand children’s tastes, needs and cognitive abilities very well. They know which items to pick, where to place them, what is the ideal distance between two items and so on. They know how to maximize the efficiency of their educational toys.
- Responsible manufacturers use water-based paints and varnishes to decorate their products. Their activity boards do not provoke allergies and are entirely safe for human health and the environment.
- A DIY busy board might look not as stunning as the ones that you buy.
Activity panels have a long lifespan. Such an educational toy will serve you for many years and the funds that you spend on it will definitely pay off.
How to Choose a Sensory Wall for Preschool
Here are the most important criteria that you should pay attention to when selecting activity boards for kindergartens or other venues.
|Size||Large busy boards are pricier and occupy more space. But they will keep the kids entertained for a longer time and teach more skills to them.||If you lack space on the wall to attach a large sensory panel, opt for a set of smaller ones. They cost less but they are just as entertaining and beneficial for learning.|
|Background||Busy boards with unpainted backgrounds look more neutral. They can add more space and air to the room.||Sensory panels with painted or printed backgrounds become opportune bright accents in otherwise too formal interiors.|
|Theme||Busy boards without a particular theme are more universal. Kids can invent more scenarios for open-ended play with them.||Themed sensory panels can better fit the interior of the premise. Also, if you know the kids’ tastes well, you can buy such a board for them that will make their dreams come true.|
How to Teach Kids to Use a Busy Board
Above in this article, it was said that adults do not need to explain to kids how to use a busy board — and so it is. But still, you might want to spend some time showing your son or daughter how things work. For instance, you can teach them to use an abacus or tell the time with the help of an analog clock.
Also, you can tell your kids the names and characteristics of different items. For example, you can say something like «This a green round button. That is a yellow square button». Then, you can ask the kid to show you all the green items that are attached to the board, or all the square items, or all the buttons.
Plus, you can teach the kids to invent stories. Start telling them a story that begins somewhere on the busy board. «Teddy bear wakes up. He takes a spoon and has breakfast. Then, he puts on his jacket, laces his shoes and goes for a walk»… You touch each item that the protagonist of the story interacts with. You do something with those objects that allow it — for instance, move the hands of the clock to show that it is morning already or tie the shoelaces. The kids need to understand that no one limits their imagination. Very soon, they will start creating exciting plots without any third-party help.
You can approach them from time to time to check how things are going. You can ask them to tell you a story just to see whether the children use words correctly and put them in the right context. This type of play implies minimal control and will not take too much of your precious time.
Why Montessori Sensory walls are the best?
Among all possible wall decor ideas, sensory panels are probably the most useful ones. They are educational and entertaining by the Montessori method at the same time. They are rather affordable if you take into account their large lifespan. All preschool kids adore them, regardless of their mindset and character. After you buy a busy board for a public facility that you manage, both children and their parents will be grateful to you. The small ones will behave well and will hardly notice how time flies. Their parents can focus on their own activities, knowing that the younger generation of the family is safely having fun.