Christmas Themed Threading Toy

Tags: Christmas, fine manipulative, home made toys

Section: Winter

Housing a Forest | Learn, Play, Create

Make your own threading toy using a large salt dough model and pretty sparkly pipe cleaners to develop fine manipulative skills!

We decided to make our threading toy Christmas themed and cut it into a Christmas tree shape. The sparkly pipe cleaners represent the tinsel winding around the tree, great for practicing threading skills.

What you need:

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • paints
  • 3 sparkly pipe cleaners

To make the salt dough:

  1. Mix together the flour and salt, gradually add the water stirring the mixture until it binds together into a dough.
  2. If it appears to be too sticky, add some extra flour. If it is too dry add extra water.
  3. Knead the dough and form a ball.
  4. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat and then the cut the shape of your choice with a knife.
  5. Remember to make some fairly large holes into the dough at this stage!
  6. Put into an oven at a low heat (around 90-100 degrees Celsius)

After about an hour push the end of one of the pipe cleaners into the dough so that it sets into place. The overall cooking time for our Christmas tree shape was around 3-4 hours and we turned the dough around halfway through due its size.

Once our salt dough had finally finished cooking and had cooled down we painted it then glazed it with white PVA glue after the paint had dried.

Finally before it was ready to be played with, I attached the other pipe cleaners to the first one making it longer for threading it through the tree.

Possible developmental outcomes include:

  • developing the pincer grip - strengthening small muscles in their hands
  • hand-eye coordination
  • fine manipulative skills
  • planning where to thread the pipe cleaners next
  • feeling a sense of pride in what they have achieved
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