How to Encourage Fine Motor Development: Pipe Cleaners


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You only need one thing to make this toddler activity!

What you need:

  • Things you probably have around the house
    • Colander
  • Things to buyschedule a reminder 1 week before you want to do this activity

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Ideal Age Range:

Ideal age is 1 – 2. Some older kids may also like this activity and you can make it more engaging – see some ideas below.

Mess Factor:

Low. No mess except cleaning up the pipe cleaners when you are done!

Prep Time:

5 minutes or less


How to Prep:

1 week before you want to do this, set yourself a calendar or task reminder to purchase any supplies you don’t have from the list above.

No need for step by step directions here. Take your colander and insert the pipe cleaners at various angles. Done!

This is something that you can easily put together during nap time and still have more than enough time to drink your coffee or eat your own lunch.

This simple thing helps to develop fine motor skills, it challenges a toddler’s sense of discovery and it lets them work on their patience as they try to remove and thread the pipe cleaners.

Extra Engagement:

No active participation needed from you for this activity. Monitor little kids as they push and pull and figure this out.

For older toddlers, you can create more engagement with these ideas:

  • Call out colors and ask your toddler to pull specific pipe cleaners
  • Push pipe cleaners in further and twist the edges so that kids have to work to straighten them out before they can remove them

If you would like to pin this activity, please use the image below.

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