Preschool activities using pipe cleaners 

Pipe cleaners are something that are always in our arts and crafts cupboard. They are colourful, flexible, textured and inexpensive. 
We have used pipe cleaners when playing with playdough, when creating pictures and they are also great pretending to be food when playing cafes. 
The activities that I will be sharing in this post are to support children’s fine motor skills. Activities which work childrens little finger muscles and enhance their pencil grip and pre writing skills. 
Pipe cleaner and colander fun


This is an activity that is super popular across the web. It’s fun, mess free, a brilliant quiet activity and does not require much time putting it together. 



Threading the pipe cleaners through each hole requires good hand eye coordination and there is a skill in holding the pipe cleaners also. 

Encourage the child to hold the pipe cleaners with their fingers, ensuring their fingers are pointing towards the tip as opposed to a fist grip. The grip needed is similar to when an adult holds a pencil but of course this is a skill that requires a lot of practise as a child. 
Threading using pipe cleaners.

If you have a collection of buttons or beads this is a super threading activity. The use of pipe cleaners rather then laces or string is more appealing for little ones as the pipe cleaners retains its shape and can be easier to hold. 

The beauty of using the pipe cleaners also means that the child can easily transform what they’ve created into something as the pipe cleaner would just require a bit of twisting. Bracelets, magic wands, pencil toppers many a creation could be made. 

This activity could also be used to explore and sort colours, create patterns and discuss quantities. 
Pre writing practice using pipe cleaners.

Out of the three activities this is the one that does require a bit more preparation work. You will need card, I recommend PVA glue and of course pipe cleaners. 

Mark on card how you would like the shaped line to look and using glue and the pipe cleaner crate that same shape on top. Cut the pipe cleaner if necessary and don’t be stingy with the glue. Don’t worry if the card is covered in glue once you’ve finished as it will dry clear. 

For young ones who are more confident in mark making, using these cards with various shaped lines allows them to touch and feel how it should be shaped with their finger. This can then be translated to pen and paper as well as forming those shapes in salt, sand, flour, rice. 

This activity is a great pre writing practise and supports the skills a child needs before writing. The shapes of the lines are pre writing shapes and will contribute to holding a pencil, writing and drawing. 


The activity could then be extended when a child shows more of an interest in letters and you could make letter cards with the pipe cleaners also. It may be nice to start with letters of importance to the child like the first initial of their name. 
Pipe cleaners are so versatile and can be a super tool to support children with their on going development also. 
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3 thoughts

  1. Ooo I love the colander idea! It reminds of the “ker-plunk” game! Haha. And the threading beads idea is really good – it’s so much easier for little ones to thread them onto something that holds its shape rather than a bit of string.

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