Increased difficulty to pipe cleaner toy

I finally made a harder version of the pipe cleaner toy that J loves.  It was one of the first activities I found when websurfing but of course I didn’t save the link so I have no idea where the idea came from.  ETA: I found the link

This particular one is actually a gift for a friend’s little girl, but I let J give it a trial run.  I should’ve made this for him when he was younger.  It would’ve been a great challege for colors; now it’s just good practice.   The original pipe cleaner toy  is SUCH a huge hit and has been for a full year now.  It is probably the top homemade toy in our house (or at least in the top three).  As he got older of course it got easier.  Adding the color matching to the toy makes gives him one more challenge to the task. 

This particular toy is an empty oatmeal container.  I used a knife to cut holes into the lid and added some reinforcements that I colored to match the pipe cleaners.  Done! 

UPDATED: A reader just asked me a great question that might help others out too! 

How do you avoid the sharp end of the pipe cleaner?

I’ve always folded and twists the ends over to keep from that sharp exposed wire. When J was really young, I twisted them in half since that length was enough of a challenge for his fine motor skills.  As he got older I could lengthen the pipe cleaners and just fold down the edge. This doesn’t remedy the problem completely, but it keeps their fingers from getting poked.  It’s still something you want to watch since eyes can get poked. Oh and I’ve found the cheaper pipe cleaners have less fluff around them which means the ends poke more. You could also use colorful straws instead of the pipe cleaners. That might be a great option for some.  I preferred pipe cleaners since we used this activity on planes most often and I liked that the pipe cleaners could be used for lots of other activities on the trip as well.
Age attempted: with colors, 24 months but could be done much much earlier; without colors, around 12 months

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18 responses to “Increased difficulty to pipe cleaner toy

  1. I love this activity — it’s the first time I’ve seen this variation. I’d like to link to it on my blog (along with the puff ball version) with your permission?

    Now a silly question: how do you avoid the sharp end of the pipe cleaner? I ask because the main activity here is pushing the pipe cleaner into the opening, so wondering what you do about the wire?

    The little boy I take care of uses pipe cleaner to thread beads, but knows now to avoid the “pokey” end:

    http://newenglandnanny.blogspot.com/2010/08/easy-bead-stringing-with-toddlers.html

    Thank you!

    • I’m glad you like the activity! Feel free to link to any activity you would like. I get so many of these activites from others too! I always try to link to the original author. You might find lots of helpful hints from those links too.

      As to the pipe cleaner question, I’ve always folded and twists the ends over to keep from that sharp basically exposed wire. When J was really young, I twisted them in half since that was enough of a fine motor skill for him. As he got older I could lengthen the pipe cleaners and just folded down the edge. It’s still something you want to watch since eyes can get poked. You could also use colorful straws instead of the pipe cleaners. I preferred pipe cleaners since we used this activity on planes most often and I liked that they could be used for lots of other activities on the trip as well.
      Good question btw, I should’ve thought to include that info on this post. I’ll try to update it for future readers. Thanks!

  2. Hi, just wanted to let you know that I’ve featured this post in my round-up of favourite pipe cleaner activities!

    Love it!

  3. Hi! Thanks for sharing this fun activity. I used it in a busy bag exchange I recently hosted with some friends. I shared your activity and our swap on my blog. http://sstorywindow.blogspot.com/2011/10/toddler-time-busy-bag-series-part-2.html

  4. Could someone tell me what and where you buy the reinforecments for putting over the holes in the pipe cleaner toy

    • An office supply store will have them. Walmart may even have them. They used to but reinforcements aren’t as used anymore. You could always use a permanent marker to draw directly onto the lid.
      Good luck!

  5. Could someone tell me what the reinforcements are made of and where to buy them for the pipe cleaner toy

  6. Got a good tip for making the holes in the lid?

    • A spice container has the holes included. Can’t get any easier than that!

      For the empty puff container, the lid was pretty easy to cut. I just used a knife. The reinforcements on top and underneath do a good job of covering up any imperfections.

  7. Pingback: Toddler Activity: Unpacking the Pipe Cleaner Tub - My Reflection of Something | My Reflection of Something

  8. Pingback: Colorful pipe cleaner bead mazes | Teach Preschool

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  10. Love this! I’d love for you to follow me on six-cents.com!

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  14. Number one baby toy pin! I made this for my 14-month old grandson, substituting colored tongue depressors and inserting into a slot I cut in the chip can. He played for an hour with this toy!! Keeping a toddler his age quiet for that long…wow! Thanks so much! (But not to be used as a church quiet activity with the tongue depressor substitute!! )

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