Fine Motor Rainbow Pipe Cleaner Craft and Play Activity

If you follow this blog, you know that we love easy fine motor activities.  This bead and pipe cleaner rainbow is one of those fun, easy, and creative ways to play while developing fine motor skills.  Kids can work on so many fine motor skills and hand strength while completing crafts and activities with beads and pipe cleaners.  We pulled out our huge bin of beads and got busy with this fun Spring rainbow project.


Pipe Cleaner and Bead Rainbow Craft

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We received pony beads, wooden beads, and jingle bells free from our friends at  They really came in handy to make our rainbow jingly, textured, and fun!
Fine Motor skills with rainbow pipe cleaners

We started with a bunch of pipe cleaners
in rainbow colors.  I bent them a little to make a little rainbow shape, but you don’t need to do that before beading.

The kids sorted through the beads to find matching beads.  Baby Girl loved adding the bells to her colors. 

How pretty are these beads?? 

RELATED READ:  Try these neat pincer grasp activities to develop fine motor skills.

Fine Motor Skills with Beading

Manipulating beads on pipe cleaners is a great fine motor activity for toddlers

Threading the beads onto pipe cleaners is a great way to reinforce fine motor skills with toddlers and preschoolers.  (Older kids love this activity too!  Big Sister came home from school later in the day and had to make a few colors of her own!)

Kids need to manipulate beads with both hands together in a coordinated manner.  Bilateral Hand Coordination is a key skill for many self-care and school-based tasks.  You couldn’t tie shoes, manage buttons and zippers, cut paper, or hold paper when writing without using both hands in a coordinated way. 

Picking up the beads uses a pincer grasp (pinching the beads between the tips of the index finger and thumb.  This is a precise grasp and picking out one bead among many in a tray really works those fine motor skills.

To thread the bead on a pipe cleaner, the child really works on their tripod grasp.  What a great way to work on pre-handwriting skills!

Rainbow pipe clearners and beads

Our rainbow is almost finished! 

To get a little more fine motor work into this activity, I pulled out a sheet of Styrofoam.  I helped the kids by poking a hole into the board  with a pencil.  Then, I showed them how to push the end of the pipe cleaners into the holes to make a rainbow.  Little Guy was my helper and engineer in this part of the activity.  He liked to tell me the order of the colors we needed and helped with bending the arches of our rainbow.

Our rainbow is ready for playing! Little Guy pulled out our leprechaun peg dolls from our St. Patrick’s Day Small World and added them to the rainbow.  There was a little sliding under the rainbow and some leprechaun horse play between the two peg dolls.  Typical boy stuff 🙂
Looking for more rainbow activities?  Try one of these colorful ideas:

3 thoughts on “Fine Motor Rainbow Pipe Cleaner Craft and Play Activity”

  1. My son loves activities like these! Our pipe cleaners are a bit thick, so we've done stuff like this a few times with spaghetti – he's had a blast! I should pick up some bigger beads, so we can try it with pipe cleaners – much more cheerful with all those colours

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