Tie-riffic Fun with Twist Ties

Oct 1, 2012

kids activity

Twist ties. One of those items that we end up accidently collecting but never actually use for some reason. The white ones come free in the packs of plastic freezer bags here in Australia. After getting some coloured ones from a craft supplies shop, I decided it was time to actually put them to use!

The cool thing about twist ties is that there is a very thin strip of wire through the centre of them so they are great for manipulating and therefore perfect for practicing and developing fine motor skills.

Rather than deciding how they should be used, I presented them to my daughter in an Invitation to Play so that she could explore them and investigate their potential herself.

Ages: 2-6+ 
(M is currently 3.5 years old. See the bottom of the post for Handy Tips on how to simplify or extend to meet your child's individual needs)

Materials: I provided Twist ties (the coloured ones were separate and the white ones I left as they came, joined together), black paper, PVA glue and a paintbrush.

Developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination to peel and separate the twist-ties

She was very interested in glueing them to the paper. The black paper made a great contrast and she enjoyed the white glue on the paper as well!
An important part of this process was the language that she was using as we talked about what she was doing.

There was a lot of attempting to twist and tie them. This was fiddly for little fingers but excellent practice.
She was very pleased with herself when she managed to get ones to twist and stay together.

I had a turn too. Playing with your child is a special time and one that is gone all too soon. Take every opportunity that you can.

Use twist ties to make letters or numbers, to spell words and more....

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by simply allowing your child to investigate and explore the twist ties themselves and let them decide what they could do with them. For younger children who's fine motor skills are still developing do not focus too much on twisting them together as it can be quite tricky. Encourage bending them into different shapes

- Extend this activity by challenging your child to build various items out of twist ties. I attempted a cube and found it was a bit more challenging than I'd imagined. They are fiddly little things! :) Encourage your child to make letters or numbers from twist ties. How many letters can they make using only 1 twist-tie? How many need 2? etc

- Instead of always giving your child directions as to how they are expected to play, I like to mix it up and create "invitations" to play where children can explore and figure out for themselves what they can do. This type of open-ended activity allows the child to take the activity to a level they are comfortable with while giving them the freedom to explore different angles.

- Process over Outcome. Remember that children need to create and explore, they don't need it to be a specific item at the end. Allow this and don't push them to think they must make something "real." Certainly with an activity such as this, the process is more important then the outcome.

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're experiencing, eg. "What are you doing with the twist-ties?" "Why did you choose to paste them like that?" "How are you going to attach this to that?" "I love how you've managed to twist those ends together to make a..." etc

- Focus on improving particular skills with your child and help them to practice, ie. Wiping excess glue before pasting to avoid drips.

- Keep a damp cloth beside them so that they are able to wipe down their hands easily and quickly

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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