After reading a post on the excellent Chasing Cheerios blog where someone had commented that her Montessori Imbucare boxes "...smell really bad," I thought it good to do some DIY discussions.
If any of the equipment you purchase for your child has an odd smell, get rid of it. The smell is caused by chemicals in the glue, paint, composites in the wood product, or the way the wood itself was processed. It is a common manufacturing ill from China and other countries.
This Toddler Imbucare box is really easy to make because the main focus for your child is the matching of the colors and hanging the loop around the small hook.
Wood Making the stand out of wood is the best, of course, as it is attractive and provides stability. Just make sure the knit balls hang easily and securely without slipping. Child-safe paint for the circles beneath the balls should be the same shade as the knit balls themselves.
Plain Brown Cardboard Box Use a small rectangular box that maintains the proportions of the box to balls as shown in the photo above. Get a non-tapered wooden chopstick (or anything similar) and cut it to make pegs. The pieces should be about 3 inches long. Put 3 holes in the box, spaced evenly. Secure the pieces into the holes, leaving about 2 inches inside the box. You can use duct tape on the inside of the box to secure the pegs so they do not wiggle at all. Paint the circles. You are ready to go!
Basically, when you make a piece of equipment for your child, focus on the points of interest. What draws your child to the equipment and what will maintain his or her focus? Why does your child return to use the same piece of equipment over and over again? Once you identify these points of interest, you will get the knack of making equipment that appeals to your child's stage of development.