Threading with Pipe Cleaners and Beads

Set up a little Invitation to Play for toddlers and preschoolers using coloured pipe cleaners and matching coloured beads, for a great fine motor and siring and matching activity!
Threading with beads is a fantastic activity for promoting fine motor development in young children . It requires concentration, thinking skills, encourages the use of the pincer grasp between the thumb and forefinger and naturally strengthens the small hand muscles that are vital for holding a pencil to write with, later on. 
Using a pipe cleaner to thread onto is a particularly good idea for younger children age 2 and upwards, as it is easier to hold and retains its shape during threading. They can then be manipulated into any shape and twisted to secure them at the ends, after making letters of the alphabet, numbers, necklaces or bracelets, amongst many other ideas! Your child will do the imagining in that area.
Placing one end of the pipe cleaner into a ball of play dough or a block of polystyrene packaging increases the stability even more, and helps younger children to maintain control as they add beads one by one. 

 For this simple activity I set out some pony beads in some little dishes, sorted by colour groups (the children can do this step too, of course, for extra learning!) Next to these I set out some coloured pipe cleaners in similar shades to the beads, but not exactly matching, so that they would have to think about which colours were the most similar. I helped them twist over one end so that the beads wouldn’t slip off and then they chose colours that they liked and threaded beads to make strings, caterpillars and jewellery.

Pop enjoyed sticking her creations into play dough and twisting the finished pieces to make little wiry sculptures, all the while practising more fine motor skills and co-ordination!

 Cakie was very proud of her creations and wore them to show daddy when he got home, of course!

What they are learning while they play:
maths: sorting and matching by colour and shades of colour
physical: fine motor control and co-ordination, threading small pieces, pincer grasp, hand:eye co-ordination
phse: concentration, thinking skills, perseverance
creativity: making new creations from combined materials

To see more about fine motor development and activities to help promote this area, watch the Hangout on Air that was hosted today over on G+ between myself, Allison from No Time for Flashcards and Jamie from Hands on as we Grow! You can see us discussing ways to practise these skills at home with the kids.

See more fine motor activities here too!

Read all about the benefits of playing with play dough here.

Cakie: 4.6
Pop: 2.11
Bean: 12 mos

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  1. says

    My girls loved beading like this when they were younger! The pipe cleaner is nice and stiff unlike other string-like material. What a fun reminder and your necklaces are beautiful!