Fine Motor Fun with Toothpicks and Straws

Fine Motor Fun with Toothpicks and Straws

These fine motor activities were totally inspired by Little Hurricane, a two-year old I babysit after preschool..  Recently, I’ve noticed that he’s fascinated by straws — pulling straws out of drinks (usually mine), then putting them back in again.  I wanted to encourage Little Hurricane’s interest, but in a way that saved my drinks!

To start off, I grabbed a styrofoam coffee cup and toothpicks.  Then I decided to use some newly-purchased washi tape because I wanted to play with it to make the fine motor play more colorful.  Little Hurricane and I sat on the floor and used the tape to decorate the cup.  Little Hurricane especially loved adding tape to the bottom of the cup.

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Once his cup was done, it was on to the fine motor fun!  I showed Little Hurricane how to put  a toothpick into the hole in the coffee cup’s top.  He was so very focused on picking up the toothpicks and placing them in the cup.  He spent a lot of time on this task, and he also enjoyed shaking the cup after each toothpick.

After some time, I taped the cup to my sliding glass door (at his level).  I think Little Hurricane enjoyed this fine motor game even more once it was at eye-level.  Plus, it required more body movement — walking over to the toothpicks, bending down to pick them up, standing back  up and walking over to the cup.  He kept this up until every single toothpick was picked up!

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At this point, Snoopy and Engineer came in to see what we were up to.  When they saw what we were doing, they requested cups of their own.  I set the big boys up with styrofoam coffee cups, washi tape, and toothpicks and let them develop their own creations.   They were very inventive and made “spiky cups” to use as ships.  Don’t worry — I kept a close watch on their play with the “spiky cups” to ensure no holes were poked into people!

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While the big boys were creating, Little Hurricane dumped the toothpicks out and started all over again.  I decided to make another fine motor activity for him while he played.  I again decorated a styrofoam coffee cup with washi tape, but I made some changes to the cup’s top this time.  I used scissors to poke additional holes in the top (about 7 or 8).  A hole punch would have been better, but I’d left mine at school.  Once the holes were made, I placed straws in each one and set the cup on a table nearby.  Little Hurricane had a blast pulling all the straws out, then putting them all back in again!

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It’s been almost a week since we made these impromptu fine motor activities, and they’re still going strong.  Little Hurricane took his toothpick game home, but we still have the straw-filled cups here.  Even Determined Diva got in on the straw fun!

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Shared at Tuesday Tots, Mom’s Library, Tot School Tuesday, What I Learned Wednesday, It’s Playtime!, The Kids Co-Op, The Sunday Showcase, Link & Learn, Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers


    • says

      Thanks for the invite, Angela! I’ll have to stop by in just a bit. :) Yes, this activity has gotten a TON of play since we made those cups. In fact, more have been requested. Let me know how your boys like it.


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