Here is a simple fine motor play activity using pipe cleaners and a cooling rack. It’s super quick to set up, a great way to introduce basic threading to your child and you’ll be amazed at the final results. Your cooling rack will never have looked so pretty!
It’s always around dinner time that Possum (4.5 years) and Boo (1.5 years) are looking for a bit of entertainment and I can usually get them involved in making dinner to get us through that wobbly time of night. With dinner already prepared I had to think quick on my feet and gave them 2 materials that would keep them well entertained into the night. Win!
Recommended age: 2 years +
(Strict and active supervision is required at all times)
For this activity you need –
- Cooling rack
- Pipe cleaners
Quite simply, I asked both of children to decorate the cooling rack with the pipe cleaners and left them to it. That’s it.
Fine Motor Skills
As you can imagine, this is a wonderful fine motor activity for kids that give their fingers a really great work out by threading the pipe cleaners between the slots of the wire rack and squeeze the ends to hold them in place. A lot for difficult than using ribbon. Fine motor activities help children with their pencil grip, writing skills and more.
Just look at that concentration!
I found that holding the wire rack upright suited Boo as it was easier to retrieve the other end of the pipe cleaner once it passed through one side. I suggest this to those children who are toddler age.
Visual Motor Skills
Possum was quite focused on the colours of the pipe cleaner and took a more methodic approach. She wanted an even coverage of pipe cleaners across the rack and for it to look great ‘up on the wall’. Boo was more interested in getting the pipe cleaners to stay in place and had lots of fun problem solving until she worked out what approach worked for her.
Of course older children might enjoy the challenge of threading the pipe cleaners in a coloured pattern and keeping the pipe cleaners running all in the same direction. There is the added challenge of removing all the pipe cleaners from the wire cooling rack afterwards.
Do your children like playing with pipe cleaners?
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Lauren @ Create Bake Make says
This is really clever! My guys LOVE manipulating pipe cleaners into different shapes, around their toys and even the dog (don’t ask!) so I’ll be trying this for sure!
Hahaha sounds like a great story about the dog.
Thank you for your kind comments Lauren.
Kate, this is such a brilliant idea. I really need to look around the house more for items that the kids can play with. I adore this idea but we’ll be using nature for this one *wink*.
Oh I can only imagine the great things you’d come up with Penny. Thanks for commenting.
Love these kinds of simple, yet effective types of activities. It’s so doable.
Took all of about 10 seconds to set up Kelly! Love that. 🙂
The Thrifty Issue says
You’re so creative! I’m definitely trying this with the kids. Thanks, Kate!
You’re so kind! Thank you. My girls had so much fun with this one. I’m sure your darlings will too. 🙂
Renee Play-Based-Parenting says
This is a cool idea 🙂 My kids love pipe cleaners so much that we have run out at the moment.
You’ll have to add them back onto the shopping list Renee. 😉
Thanks for your comment.
Anna @Kids play space says
This is brilliant! I might bring it into the clinic (OT) this week! Thank you!!
What a compliment. Thanks Anna. 🙂