This is, by far, the coolest thing I’ve made for Sam. It’s fun, educational, and really, really easy to make. The characters got a bit tedious, but it paid off in the end. Plus, you can find great pieces for different stories off of Ebay and Etsy too, I’m sure. In fact, we just ordered a “5 Little Monkeys Swinging From a Tree” set for 5 buckaroos.
*Particle board – 99 cents at hardware store
*Felt – at Wal-Mart you can ALWAYS find felt and/or flannel (they both work well) material in the clearance bin. They also have very cheap pre-cut 8×10 pieces to get more color for cheap without having to buy a yard.
*Material scissors and paper scissors
*Hot glue gun w/extra glue
*Regluar kid’s glue
*Cardboard – I just used old boxes
I literally, as you can see, just glued the felt onto the particle board with a glue gun and the board was done. Then I cut out a makeshift (though not perfect) alphabet, some shapes, a few flowers and trees, etc. I made sure that all of the letters in Samuel D were in one color to make it easier to find his name spelled out. And he was ready to play. Later on I printed out a bunch of templates found here and colored them in. You can also make up your own from a story you know and use a Google image search, but I’m less creative than some and need structured craft ideas. I colored the pages, cut them out, and then painted glue over every last inch of paper on the backand laid it out on cardboard. Once that was dry I cut out the cardboard as carefully as I could in order to retain the shape. Hot glue the sandpaper to the back and you have characters that stick to the board. I originally had planned to laminate the characters and pictures, but when I took the stuff to Kinko’s it was $1.99 for just one sheet. And that’s not frugal. I actually think I like this better, anyway, because Sam has something large and chunky to hold onto. *Note: If you use heavy sandpaper it will pill the felt on the board. I used super thin sandpaper.
To play with this sometimes Sam will do alone pretend play, sometimes we will do other fun things like have the animals/people be friends and do imagination play that way. Mostly I read a story, as in Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle with all the animals laid out and have him find the animal we are talking about and put it on the board. Sam knows all of the colors and I think it’s primarily due to this game.
Have fun. I LOVE bringing out the felt board. Especially on rainy days!