1. Just a Milk Crate & some Pipecleaners…

Ages 1ish & up

An entertained or busy child is usually a happy child. When I am busy cooking or cleaning my son will usually amuse himself for a bit but depending on his mood or how long I’m occupied, he will get bored and start looking for trouble, his first stop is usually the dog dish…and depending on my mood and stress levels this can lead to negative attention which I try to avoid!

This isn’t my original idea, I’ve seen lots of examples on Pinterest but I moderated it a little. I use a milk crate or clothes hamper with pipecleaners but you can also use a strainer, a box with holes poked in it, those little baskets from the Dollar Store, really anything you have around the house that has holes in it and that you preferably don’t use yourself on a regular basis.

Now I know I said these activities didn’t cost me anything but if you don’t have pipecleaners at home you are going to have to dish out $1.00 the next time you’re at the Dollar store. I’ve tried thinking of an alternative but raw spaghetti would break and be messy and chopsticks make me nervous!!! Do you have any suggestions??? 


When I first brought out the milk crate and pipecleaners I sat down with my kiddo and showed him how to insert the pipecleaners through all the holes while thinking to myself, This is going to be great! I’m going to get things done while my son is entertaining himself AND improving his dexterity! Well he looked at my pipecleaners sitting inside the crate and must of thought, Mom you idiot I’ll show you an easier way! Flipped the crate on it’s side and put the pipecleaners in that way…at least I know he has good problem solving skills!

New plan: I put all the pipecleaners in a container (I used an old baking powder container) and my little guy loves taking them out, we say the colour and I weave it through the holes. Right now every one is black to him, but he’ll learn. The first time I weaved all the Pipecleaners through each hole perfectly and than we discovered he loves pulling them out and getting me to weave them again and again…so now I weave them through maybe 2 or 3 holes for my own personal sanity.

Although this is often an activity we now do together, it keeps him entertained, happy and learning. My kiddo can be so creative, he sees different ways to put pipecleaners in the crate; through holes, handles or large opening. I show him how I can twist 2 colours together, we practice cleaning them up into the crate or in the baking powder container but his favourite is talking about the colours.

I leave this activity out for him and there have been a few times that he’s played with it on his own or instead of looking for trouble he’s brought a yellow pipecleaner to me yelling, “black” and wanting me to come play with him.

When I need to get something done, like making supper, I bring the crate into the kitchen and he is usually content with me walking over now and again to weave the odd one but for the most part I can just tell him the colour and say “good job” when he puts one in by himself. Thank goodness for multitasking!

Has anyone else tried this activity? Was it successful?



2 thoughts on “1. Just a Milk Crate & some Pipecleaners…

  1. […] I first started writing this blog I posted about different sensory activities my son does such as putting pipe cleaners through a milk crate and scooping popcorn seeds. There are lots of great child led activities that you can make yourself […]


  2. […] Get some pipecleaners and a milk crate or clothes basket and make a game out of working on your child’s fine motor skills! […]


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