toddler activities: colander and pipe cleaners

“Parenting is wanting to be with your kids forever in one minute, and wanting to sell them the next”

I’ve been on the hunt for little-to-no mess activities that my 18 month old can do that will entertain him for a little bit but won’t be a huge hassle to clean up when his short attention span runs up. My hope is that maybe if I do a few a day I can steal a little time away to get some work done. Today we tried pipe cleaners and a colander because I heard it helps them with developing their fine motor skills and its super easy to facilitate! (But don’t expect them to sit for too long, it’s totally normal for them to stop in the middle of a game and use the colander as a new fancy hat!) Hhaha!

Tip: I cut a few pipe cleaners in half and those turned out to be a little easier for him to stick them in. For older kids you can also turn the colander upright and have them stick them through both sides!


Colander (here’s mine)

Pipe Cleaners


Additional info on developing fine motor skills:

The best way for you to help promote these and other hand-related skills is to provide your child with a wide range of materials to manipulate as her imagination dictates. Good choices include blocks (especially the interlocking types like magnetic blocks, Legos, bristle blocks, Tinker Toys, and construction straws), crayons, nontoxic and washable markers and paints, paste, glue, modeling clay, an easel, construction paper, safety scissors, a smock to guard against stained clothing, coloring books, and simple sewing cards. This is also a prime time for puzzles, sand and water toys, and musical instruments.

Once you've provided your kiddo with the tools that inspire creativity… let him loose, even if things are likely to get rather messy. Toddlers tend to focus more on process than on product so they throw themselves into exploring the properties and possibilities of materials like paint, mud, sand, water, and glue without worrying about the results.