Give those fine motor skills a work out with some simple threading!
All my kids loved to thread stuff when they were little. Sometimes we made necklaces or bracelets, sometimes cool sun-catchers or things to hang, and sometimes just for the challenge and enjoyment of threading all kinds of little bits and pieces onto a string or similar.
Threading activities are easy to set up and there are a whole range of items you can collect for little hands to thread with.
Threading for Very Little Hands.
For little ones, around two and three years old, who are just starting to master the skill of threading, make sure you offer large items that are easy for small hands to manipulate and that have large holes.
Poking some skewers into a block of foam, or some play dough, is a great first threading activity as little hands don’t have to hold onto a string as well as the item they want to thread.
Once they have mastered that, pipe cleaners are a good alternative to floppy string, or use some stiff plastic string – you can buy a cheap roll of whipper snipper (weed whacker) plastic cord which is perfect.
Here are some things beginners could thread:
- cut up cardboard tubes
- cut up pool noodles
- large tubular pasta
- felt or stiff fabric with a large hole cut in it
- cut up egg carton with a hole pushed into it
- thick rubber bands
- wood scraps with large holes drilled into them
- pipe cleaners curled into circles
Threading for Older Kids
As fine motor skills develop threading can become more and more challenging. Four and five year olds love making necklaces and bracelets and all kids of threaded hangings, and you can offer a whole range of interesting items to thread with and to thread on to. Pretty much anything that either has a hole or could have a hold made in it can be added to a threading activity for older kids.
Thread onto plastic craft string or use any kind of string with a child safe needle, or make a threading needle one yourself from a recycled plastic lid or a pipe cleaner. Pipe cleaners make quick and easy bracelets, and threading beads onto feathers is an interesting variation on traditional threading.
Here are some things older children could thread:
- cut up straws
- patty pans (cupcake cases) with holes punched or cut in the middle.
- plastic or foil containers with holes punched in them
- paper streamers with holes punched in one end
- rolled paper beads
- scrap paper, card board, or recycled materials with holes punched in them.
- pony beads/small beads
- plastic bottle caps with holes melted in them
- shells with holes
- foam shapes with holes punched in them
- gum nuts with holes drilled through them
- leaves or flower petals or other natural materials that can have a hole punched in them
More Threading Ideas
Threading is such a simple activity, with so many options, you can easily theme it for a particular season or celebration. Once your kids have mastered the art of threading they can use those same skills for other similar activities such as basic sewing and fun sculpture making.
Here are some more fun threading ideas and activities:
We first shared some ideas for threading activities way back in 2010! We’ve since totally revamped and updated this post, but you may still see comments from the original post from way back when.