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Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Threading Activity for Toddlers

This pipe cleaner fine motor threading activity was so much fun. We turned it into a color matching activity as well!

We have just started potty training our daughter. This weekend we didn’t want to leave the house but we needed an activity that would occupy my toddler for a bit. I decided to put together this simple pipe cleaner fine motor threading activity which I wanted to share because she loved it to much.

This activity was a blast! Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity was more than meets the eye. Color matching and pretend play

Benefits of this Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Threading Activity

I knew when choosing the activity I wanted to incorporate a few different learning aspects into one fun activity. This project will:

  • work on fine motor skills
  • incorporate color matching
  • allow for creativity
  • open the door to pretend play

I didn’t realize all the benefits before I started but after the fact I realized this was more than just a simple threading activity. But that’s what makes these spontaneous activities so much fun. We all learn as we go!

Materials We Used For Threading

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know the latest 1) I stock up on random items without a predetermined purpose and 2) I love throwing things together that I have on hand for a fun and cheap activity. So here are the items we used:

How to Structure the Fine Motor Threading Activity with Your Toddler

I won’t lie, at first I thought we were going to do more of a lacing activity where she would weave the pipe cleaner through the spokes of the cooling rack. I first saw that idea from Hands On As We Grow and thought it was so clever!

We set up the pipe cleaners and the cooling rack and I showed her how to start weaving. She immediately had difficulty – she’s only 2 and a half! I should have realized that her dexterity just wasn’t there yet, especially since the cooling rack had very small spaces in between the slats.

So instead of giving up entirely, I pivoted. What I thought would be a good pipe cleaner fine motor weaving activity was really a pipe cleaner fine motor threading activity.

I took four different colored pipe cleaners and attached them to the cooling rack by one end. I draped the other end toward my daughter. To do this, you can simply twist the end upon itself and it should hold well. Think of putting a twisty tie on a bag of bread.

pipe cleaners on the rack

Next I cut the smoothie straws in pieces about 3/4″ long. Some were longer, some shorter. The length shouldn’t matter much as long as your child can hold it. We were really lucky and the Smoothie straws matched the colors of the pipe cleaners.  I had orange straws and yellow pipe cleaners but that was close enough. Don’t stress out if yours don’t. In that case you can just focus on the threading part of the activity.

cut straws


Color Matching and Threading Activity

I then instructed my little one to start threading the straw pieces onto the pipe cleaner. She actually was the one who took it upon herself to match them by color. She started putting all the blue straw pieces on the blue pipe cleaner. We then searched for all the blue pieces and put them on. From there we moved to green and so on.

threading the pipe cleaner


pipe cleaner fine motor threading activity for toddlers


Threading Activity Turned Fashion Activity!

When she started putting all different colors on one of the pipe cleaners I had an idea. I thought about all the macaroni art we did at school when I was younger. One of the items I remembered was macaroni necklaces. (Ah! Another cheap and easy craft with things I have on hand!)

As I was doing this activity with my toddler I realized these straw pieces looked a bit like macaroni and the pipe cleaners would make PERFECT bracelets. So I twisted a few into rings and all of a sudden we had beautiful bangles.

pipe cleaner fine motor activity for toddlers 2

Fashion Activity Turned SUPERHERO Activity

My daughter loves Super Why. For some reason when I put the bangles on her, she thought she was a superhero and started quoting Super Why. I love when she pretends. It melts my heart and makes me remember all the fun I had pretending. (Being a kid is so magical, right?! Sigh)

So we went for it. We were Super Readers from Super Why. Here’s all of our superhero bracelets right before we started flying around the room.

pipe cleaner bracelets


What I found out that afternoon was you can take an ordinary activity, something small that you didn’t have pre-planned, and have an amazing education experience. I followed my daughter’s lead and she was the one who started exploring all the different ways to maximize the pipe cleaner threading activity. It was amazing!

What have your kids amazed you with recently?



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