This seemingly simple little activity really tests your child's fine motor skills and it ended up being a bit more challenging for my (recently turned) 3 year old than I had first imagined. For tips on how to simplify this activity for your child, please see the "Some tips" section below the pictures.
To make our critters we used pom poms, pipe cleaners, mini googly eyes and glue
The first fun job was to choose the colours for our critters body and then choose which coloured pipe-cleaners to use for the arms. Use this time to teach or reinforce colour knowledge. Maddie was very insistent on most of the critters having "matching" bodies and arms.
Here comes the tricky part. Holding down the pom pom to wrap the pipe cleaner around the middle
Carefully pull the pipe cleaner so that it's tight around the middle of the pom pom.
I then trimmed the arms to the desired length.
Glue two little dots for the eyes
Then stick on the eyes
Our little critter family with their pasta shell houses
-To simplify this activity you may need to put the arms on yourself and just let your child do the colour choosing and gluing the eyes on. Just using their pincer grip to pick up the tiny googly eyes can be quite challenging, not to mention the coordination required to hold the little critter while sticking them on.
- Extend this activity by letting your child do the trimming of the pipe cleaners themselves
- Demonstrating the easiest way to wrap the pipe cleaner around the pom pom first might save some frustrations. As might lending a helping hand here and there.
- Use this activity for counting practice and colour matching if you like.
- Make a play scene (playing environment) for your critters and their houses. Use this for imaginative play.