Fine Motor Skills with Pipe Cleaners

Got some pipe cleaners lying around and not sure what to do with them? We’ve got wonderful news for you! Here are some great pipe cleaner craft ideas that will not only build your child’s creative side but also strengthen their fine motor skills!

Fine Motor Activities with Pipe Cleaners

Pipe cleaners are so versatile and easy to use for toddlers and preschoolers. These fuzzy, bendable, and colorful sticks are affordable and can be used for cutting, bending, lacing, shaping, and even wrapping! I’m going to show you a ton of pipe cleaner activities that complement any craft, present, or holiday!

Ideas for Strengthening Fine Motor Skills

If you’ve lived in the preschool world for any length of time, you’ve heard the buzz word ‘fine motor‘. Young children are still developing the small muscles in their hands and fingers. If they strengthen or practice those fine motor movements, it will help them build pre-writing skills faster. And, there are so many tools to use, including pipe cleaners, like pom poms, scissors, and more!

Lacing Beads on Pipe Cleaners for Perfect Presents

This fine motor activity not only develops hands dexterity, but it’s also a really easy way to show patterns, create beautiful art, and a perfect presentation for loved ones.

Not only can you use pipe cleaners to make bracelets and necklaces, try a cutting exercise by asking your toddler to cut straws in several pieces.

  • Cut an example of a 1-inch size straw piece for modeling.
  • Using caution, ask your child to cut several pieces of straw using a multitude of colors. All straw pieces should fit almost the entire length of a pipe cleaner, about 6 1-inch pieces.
  • After cut straws are complete, string straws on the pipe cleaner. Or, in other words, add each straw piece until about a 1/2 – 1 inch on each side is left.
  • Secure the straws with decorative and colorful beads between each straw.
  • Fasten the pipe cleaner ends together to form a bracelet or necklace.

Colorful Hands-On Activities with Pipe Cleaners

This is a great hands-on fine motor activity for building small muscle strength, counting exercise, and identifying color patterns.

  • Layout several colors of pipe cleaners.
  • Grab a pile of a small, colorful array of clothespins and ask your child to match the colors.
  • Then, find out if they can count all of the clothespins on each pipe cleaner!

Bending Pipe Cleaners to make shapes for Building Flexibility

Here is an innovative fine motor idea for teaching more unique shapes like octagons and hexagons.

  • Grab some pipe cleaners and those extra cut straws.
  • Show your child the fun shapes they can make and count each side for extra practice! It’s easy peasy and so much fun to do with the kids!
  • Or, draw several types of shapes on paper and ask your preschooler to mimic the shape with pipe cleaners!
  • Show your student how a ruler helps make a straight line. Then, grab a marker and begin drawing shapes like squares, rectangles, and more!
  • Now it’s time for your preschooler to make their own shapes with pipe cleaners of any color!
  • What about some creative ideas for unique shapes with many sides? Try making some rainbow color bracelets with leftover cut straws. Your child will love parading around with their crafted and creative jewelry!

Wrapping Pipe Cleaners around Objects for Dexterity

Pencils not only help with writing, but they’re also a great tool for creating unique shapes and curly pipe cleaners! Wrap Pipe cleaners around any object, including writing utensils! Try more than one color while you’re at it! They can keep it on for extra support from slipping or pull it off for a curly pull toy!

Develop Fine Motor using Play Dough and Pipe Cleaners

What kiddo doesn’t love playdough? It’s squishy, soft, and super flexible. And, you can add it to the repertoire of your pipe cleaner palette! As your student cuts pieces of pipe cleaner, grab some extra playdough for play dough poke! Note that some child safety scissors will not be strong enough to cut through a pipe-cleaner. It takes quite a bit of strength to cut through the wire, so when planning this activity with younger children, plan on doing the cutting beforehand.

Just roll up some balls with your playdough and make some unique crafts, whether it looks like an alien, animal or an arachnid! It’s their choice — get those creative juices flowing.

There are so many fine motor skill ideas using pipe cleaners — just start with some of these innovative, inspiring ideas and I guarantee your child will discover even more!

Check out our handy and helpful fine motor task cards below, designed just for precious little hands!

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