Pasta threading - fine motor skills activity

Pasta threading is a great way to entertain kids of all ages. It helps develop their fine motor skills and concentration without spending any money.

If you’re looking for a good rainy day activity, pasta threading is really simple but so effective. It is a great activity for toddlers to develop their fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and concentration. You can also use it to work on counting, colour recognition, or sequences and patterns for older children.

You can use plain pasta, or dye it using the same method I used to make my Rainbow Rice. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and is best left to dry overnight.

Different coloured pasta

I dyed the pasta to make it look more interesting, and also because Ollie is learning to recognise colours. So I used this as an opportunity to see if he could remember the colour names. I repeated them each time he threaded one. If your little one is prone to putting things in their mouth, you might want to use plain pasta as the dye will start to come off when it gets wet.

Child threading pasta on to straws
We started with paper straws as they’re sturdy enough for little fingers to grab and poke into the pasta holes. It took Ollie a while to get the hang of it and I had to help him out to start with. Once he’d had a bit of practice he managed to do it by himself quite easily. He has done a lot of threading and fine motor skills activities before, so I made it more challenging.

I joined a few pipe cleaners together and curled one end up so the pasta couldn’t slide off. The pipe cleaner is more bendy which makes it tricker for little hands. If you really want to help develop fine motor skills, give your child something trickier to thread on to. It took Ollie a lot longer to get the hang of this one and you could really see the concentration on his face! Once I’d shown him how to do it and he’d had a few attempts there was no stopping him. He was so pleased with himself he stopped after each piece to clap for himself!

Child threading pasta on to pipe cleaners

Ollie’s also really into counting at the minute – despite the fact he can only get to 2 on his own!
He loves repeating the numbers when I count them out. So each time he thread a piece, I counted and he repeated the number back to me.

This activity is so easy to prepare and didn’t cost a penny as I had all the ingredients at home. It’s very easy to adapt aswell for different abilities.

I used a pretty thin rigatoni but you can get pasta with bigger holes in most supermarkets. You could make this easier by using chunkier pasta and threading on to something stiff, like straws or lollipop sticks. You could even stick them down using sellotape or plasticine to make it easier to thread onto.

For older children, make it more challenging by using penne or giving them something more tricky to thread like a shoelace or ribbon. You could even get older children to make their own pasta jewellery!

Ollie was 18 months old when we tried this activity 

Pasta Threading – Fine Motor Skills Activity

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