Threading beads onto a piece of uncooked pasta is a fun way for toddlers and preschoolers to strengthen their fine-motor skills. All you need is some uncooked spaghetti, pony beads and some playdough to use as a base to hold the spaghetti upright.
Because my daycare caters to toddlers and preschoolers, we do a lot of fine motor activities here.
Playdough is great for fine motor development
Playing with playdough is one of my favourite ways to help the hooligans develop their fine motor skills.
Playing with play dough helps strengthen fine motor skills in many ways. All that rolling, squeezing, pinching and patting is great for little hands and fingers.
Today, we’re using playdough for a fine motor activity but the playdough is secondary to the actual activity.
We’re using the play dough to hold a piece of pasta so the kids can stack pony beads on it.
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If you don’t have pony beads
If you don’t have pony beads, your children could thread Cheerios or Fruit Loops onto their spaghetti noodle.
This activity presented quite the challenge for the 2 year olds, but they did well with it.
How to do this fine motor activity:
To do the activity, simply stick some spaghetti noodles into a base of playdough. You can just make your base by rolling your playdough into a ball or you can use cookie cutters to make a shaped base.
Once your pasta is pressed into the playdough, have your child thread their beads onto it.
The activity helps develop pincer grip as kids need to handle the bead with their thumb and forefinger in order to get it onto the spaghetti.
Hand eye co-ordination is challenged as well when lining up the hole in the bead with the spaghetti.
Something else that makes the activity challenging is that uncooked spaghetti is quite fragile and snaps easily when it’s not handle with care. The children quickly learned that they needed a gentle touch for this activity.
Colour Identification and Counting
While your child is threading their beads onto the pasta, you can talk about the colours that she’s choosing and she can practice counting as she selects and stacks her beads.
Older children can estimate how many beads will fit on a length of spaghetti, and they can work on patterning.
Need a good play dough recipe?
If you’re looking for a good recipe for homemade play dough, I use the The Imagination Tree’s No-cook Playdough. It’s the best. We can leave it out for hours, and it doesn’t dry up. It will stay soft or months when stored in an air tight container.
More Fine Motor Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Beginner Scissor Activities with Interesting Materials
- Fine Motor Button Snake
- Fine Motor Cardboard DropBox
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.