Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity With a Cardboard Box

This pipe cleaner fine motor activity is a fun one that we used for many years to target fine motor skills like dexterity, pincer grasp, hand strength, and more. Plus, this pipe cleaner activity is great for toddlers. But, kids of all ages love this activity! Let’s break it down…

Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity

This fine motor pipe cleaner activity is very simple to set up. You need just two items:

  1. Pipe cleaners cut into half or one thirds
  2. A cardboard box

To set up the activity, first cut the pipe cleaners into smaller sections. For younger children use longer lengths of pipe cleaners and for older kids, target more precise fine motor skills but cutting smaller sections.

Then, use a screwdriver and poke holes all over the cardboard box.

You’ll want to poke holes on the top of the box, but also on the sides of the box. A larger box is best for this activity, because the holes on the sides of the box encourages a wider range of motion, including wrist extension.

You’ll also see more diverse movements when a larger cardboard box is used: bilateral coordination, visual scanning, crossing midline, and more.

Another pipe cleaner fine motor activity to try is dropping pipe cleaners into a bottle. Toddlers love that activity, too!


This was the invitation to play that I had set up for the kids.  A cardboard box with holes poked all over, and pipe cleaners. 


This was the end result 🙂
They all had so much fun creating a work of art with pope cleaners, all while working on their fine motor dexterity, tripod grasp, and eye-hand coordination.
(These two were pushing each other to get in there.  They are WAY more like siblings than cousins…)



Have you seen our recent post Pipe Cleaner Fun where we shared how to explore colors with pipe cleaners?  There are so many fun ways to use them for fine motor development with kids!

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

Or, grab one of our themed Fine Motor Kits to target skills with fun themes:

Want access to all of these kits…and more being added each month? Join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.


7 thoughts on “Pipe Cleaner Fine Motor Activity With a Cardboard Box”

  1. Now this looks like a lot of fun for little ones. I'm going to have all 3's and under next year. I think they'll love this! Thanks for sharing with us today. Pinning to my fine motor board.

  2. My personal favourite – featured on the round up of Project Recycle and Create Cardboard Boxes on Peakle Pie 🙂

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Pipe cleaner fine motor activity

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