Tag Archives: fine motor activites for toddlers

Simple Straw Bead Necklaces

Simple Straw Bead Necklaces | Mama Papa BubbaAs the chaos continues, so do the super simple, created-on-a-whim activities for Miss G.  Because the days are passing by so quickly and we still have a ridiculous amount of stuff to be done before the big move, I’ve basically been throwing together activities with whatever is nearby at the moment, and hoping that they’ll keep Gracen happily engaged for a good long time so that Brad and I can throw some more stuff into boxes (sad, but true).

IMG 2567Today, as I was sorting through our big catchall closet, I came across the bubble tea straws we used for Grae’s beloved bubble tea shop we did recently.  I knew I had seen yarn on a shelf somewhere, so I created a really basic beading station for the little lady to enjoy.

IMG 2568Using some big scissors, I chopped up the straws to form beads.  They leapt up from my scissors as they were cut and Gracen thought it was quite funny.  Her job was to collect all of the beads and pop them into this bowl.

IMG 2569Because the straws are so large, Brad created a cardboard stopper at the end of a piece of yarn instead of a giant knot.  This can be done as he did it (by feeding the yarn through a small hole and knotting it on the other side), or it can be done by wrapping the yarn through a couple of slits made in the cardboard square.

IMG 2570Though we actually have several large, unsharp sewing needles from Grae’s ‘sewing kit‘, I had seen this creative alternative on Happy Hooligans, and decided to give it a shot.

IMG 2572Grae started beading right away.  The beauty of this activity is that not only is it simple and fun, but it also is great for fine motor skill development and hand-eye coordination.  Plus it lends itself very easily to patterning if your child decides to take it that way (Miss G did not).

IMG 2576Grae worked on this project for a good long time and finally finished off a giant, brightly-coloured  necklace that she was very proud of.  

I realize that not everyone keeps bubble tea straws on hand, but this same activity would work great with regular small straws (just use a dull knitting needle instead of the straw needle, or put a bit of masking tape on the needle end of the yarn), or better yet – if you’re a Slurpee-loving family, wash out those big Slurpee straws and repurpose them for this project.

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‘Sewing’ Station {a creative table idea}

Sewing StationFor the last few days, Miss G has really been enjoying the new set-up she has happening at her creative table (for a little bit of background info on the whole idea behind her creative table, click here).  While it would probably be more appropriate to call this a beading and lacing station, Gracen saw it and immediately cheered, “A sewing station!”  To her, needles equal sewing, so a sewing station it is.

IMG 3489The sewing station consists of things we mainly already had on hand…  Two types of beads (pony beads and meltable beads like these), a couple of plastic yarn needles strung with wool, a few steel yarn needles strung with embroidery floss, some Wikki Sticks

IMG 3491And some homemade lacing cards (simply made by cutting shapes out of card stock and cardboard, and punching holes around the edges).

IMG 3514IMG 3509When Grae originally discovered her new sewing materials, she was by far most excited about the needles and thread, and got to beading right away…

IMG 3527IMG 3531IMG 3541After a couple of days, she had completed not only a bracelet for herself (I helped with the tying of course), but one for her Mama too!

IMG 3544After that, she begun working on the lacing cards.  Right now she’s working on a lacing circle that has beads woven throughout.  She works on it a little each day, moving onto something else when she feels like it and returning when the urge returns.

IMG 3701Something that often happens when it comes to her creative table {and sensory play} is that Grae adds to the materials as she goes.  These mini cupcake liners were all her idea. 
IMG 3703This is her most recently completed project…  A bracelet for Papa!  He couldn’t be left out, now could he?
To see some of Miss G’s other recent creative table set-ups, click here.
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Simple Play: Stacking O’s on Skewers

When I stumbled across this blog the other day and saw this activity,  I knew I wanted to try it with Miss G.  Already having all of the required materials on hand, we gave it a go this afternoon.

IMG 8584While the original idea partners o-shaped cereal with play dough and uncooked spaghetti, I replaced the play dough with half of an apple and the spaghetti with bamboo skewers (you’ll see why in just a minute).

IMG 8585To get started, we put our apple, cut side down, on a large plate and poked the bamboo skewers into it at different angles.  Gracen helped me with this part and it was actually very doable for her.  This was part of the reason I used skewers instead of spaghetti.  Being that spaghetti is so thin and fragile, I knew it wouldn’t last through set up, let alone play, with my enthusiastic little lady.

IMG 8586With our “porcupine” ready to go, I gave Miss G a small bowl of o-shaped cereal, and let the threading and stacking begin.

IMG 8591Gracen really got into this activity and was truly having a blast.
IMG 8593This best part is that not only is it great fine motor practice, but this activity is also a great counting and concentration activity too.
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Of course, little ones don’t realize all that.  They just think they’re playing a game and having fun.
IMG 8596Grae was actually so into the activity that she wasn’t really interested in eating her o’s, which I thought for sure she would be. 
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The perk to using an apple (or any other edible anchor) is that if/when the eating stage happens, you don’t have to worry about your little one eating o’s encrusted with play dough. 
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Part way through, Grae realized that the o’s were sliding down the skewers and started saying, “Wheeee!” each time she’d send one down their bamboo slide.  Too funny.
Here’s a video of Gracen hard at play…
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