Latch Boards for Toddlers | Busy Boards for Age 1+

Toddlers love latch boards! They can open and close these doors without getting into trouble. Over and over and over! Plus they’re great for improving hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity and fine motor skills.

In this post, I’ll review my daughter’s latch boards and why they’re awesome!

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Melissa and Doug Latches Board Review

melissa and doug latches board review
Click the image to view on Amazon


  • Includes six different types of latches to improve manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination 
  • Fun design also teaches about numbers, animals, and colors
  • High quality wooden and metal construction
  • Great toy for kids 18 months to 7 years 


  • Colorful paper design can peel off over time
  • Latches may be stiff or difficult to open at first, but loosen up with use
  • Latches can get stuck on latches next to them, which is frustrating to children
  • Children under 3 may have difficulty closing latches
Click the image to see more details on Amazon


Children as young as 18 months will love the colorful Melissa and Doug Latches Board! Open six different types of latches on different houses to reveal the colorful animals living inside.

Types of latches:

  1. Draw latch
  2. Sash lock
  3. Cabin hook
  4. Crossbar
  5. Door chain
  6. Lock hasp

My two year old can easily open most of the latches but doesn’t quite have the skills to close them yet. 

The board and latches are good quality- the huge 12×16″ board is made of half inch thick wood. And the metal latches are durable. 

The construction does have two downsides though. The pictures are made of paper, so they can scuff and peel over time. 

And there’s a lot of stuff on these boards. That means the latches and hinges can get stuck on the latches next to them. Which is very frustrating and confusing to a toddler who’s just learning to use this fun toy.  Click here to view the latches board on Amazon.

Big Future Toys Latch Board Review

big future latches board review
Click the image to view on Amazon


  • Three different types of latches improve your toddler’s manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination 
  • Shape sorting section teaches fine motor skills and object permanence 
  • Clean and simple design
  • High quality wooden board and metal hinges mean it will last for years
  • Great toy for kids 12 months to 5 years 
  • Comes with a stand so you can display the board when not in use


  • Latches may be stiff or difficult to open at first, but loosen up with use
  • Children under 2 may have difficulty opening latches 
  • Children under 3 may have difficulty closing latches
  • A little pricier than other wooden latch boards 

Click the image to see more details on Amazon


The Big Future Latch Board is an interesting twist on the concept! 

If you have a 12 month old, leave the three different latches unlocked. Let your child open and close the doors to discover the shapes! 

By two years, children can use this toy as a shape sorter and possibly open some latches.

Finally, by age 3, most children can use all the capabilities of the toy and latch and unlatch it themselves! 

Some customers noticed that the latches can be difficult to open and close at first but loosen up and are easier to use once they’re “broken in.”

The durable wooden board is 14 x 9 inches, and is ¾ inches thick. It has a handy handle so kids can carry it. 

And it comes with a wooden stand you can use to display it when your child isn’t playing with it. 

My two year old absolutely loves this latch board! She enjoys opening and closing the doors, and playing with the shapes. 

Even though she has the Melissa and Doug latch board, she enjoys playing with both! 

Why are latch boards good toys for toddlers?

  • Opening latches and doors helps toddlers develop fine motor skills
  • These activities also teach hand-eye coordination 
  • The different types of latches and locks teach your child about hooks, snaps, and slides. 

Tips for playing with latch boards

  • Most manufacturers recommend latch boards for children age 3 and up. However, children as young as 2 likely have the manual dexterity to open some of the latches.
  • Let your child play with the latch board and attempt to figure out how it works on their own
  • If your child can’t open the latches on their own, show them how. Then encourage them to try themselves 
  • Closing the latches can be more challenging. Help your toddler close them, or patiently show them several times
  • Play “peekaboo” with the items behind the doors. Or close the doors and ask your toddler if they remember what was behind it. 
  • Your toddler might also enjoy a “busy board” with other things to manipulate, like zippers, switches and gears 


Click the image to see more details about this busy board on Amazon

latch boards for toddlers pin

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