Bracelets are fun to make, but they can be really tough for kids who have poor fine motor skills. If a child wants to make a bracelet but is struggling with being able to use two hands together (bilateral coordination), has difficulty using their “pincher” fingers effectively (thumb and index finger), can’t seem to coordinate hands and eyes (visual motor), or is just downright clumsy, try having them use a pipe cleaner instead of a string.
All you need are some beads…
…and a pipe cleaner.
Pipe cleaners are a great string substitute because they stay in place and don’t flop around, thus reducing the amount of fine motor control needed to successfully complete the task. Their fuzzy texture and hard wire give more sensory input to the fingers, which is great for kiddos who have underdeveloped or newly emerging fine motor skills. And their thick, fuzzy nature encourages beads to stay in place so they don’t slip off if the bracelet-maker loses focus or accidentally fumbles with their fingers. What a great way to minimize frustration and maximize success!
Pipe cleaner bracelets can also serve as a great fidget toy for the child who must always be touching, spinning, or jiggling something. They can play with it — spin beads, bend bracelet, etc. — while it is either on or off their wrist. Just make sure you’ve looped the pipe cleaner around the end enough times to know that the beads won’t go flying with all that fidgeting.
I hope you’re able to grant a child the gift of bracelet-making with this simple pipe cleaner trick. What are some other ways you like to modify bracelet-making for kids?