Macaroni threading is a cheap activity to do at home, and a great way to help develop children’s fine motor skills – the small muscles in their hands.
What you need to get started
- Macaroni – larger macaroni such as Rigatoni is better for younger children.
- Something to thread with – string, curling ribbon, wool, ribbon, pipe cleaners, straws etc. Please note if you use wool you may need to wrap some sticky tape around the end to make it easier to thread.
- A small bowl to put the macaroni in.
- Place macaroni in the bowl.
- Cut the string so that you have enough to tie around your child’s neck to make a necklace.
- Use one piece of macaroni to tie around the end of the string so that the macaroni does not fall off.
This activity can be frustrating for children and they will need your support and encouragement. However, they will have a great sense of achievement once they have mastered this skill.
- Demonstrate how to thread the macaroni onto the string – threading takes a lot of skill, particularly for young children or if it is their first time. In the beginning, you may need to help your child by holding the string and letting them put the macaroni on. After they get the hang of doing that, encourage them to hold the string in one hand and then thread the macaroni with the other.
Handy tips and variations
- For young children, you can stick some paper straws into playdough and encourage the child to thread on the straw.
- Colour the macaroni by placing it a bowl of water with a few drops of food colouring. Just leave it in for long enough for the macaroni to colour. Add more food colouring if necessary. Strain macaroni and leave on a tray to dry.
Why do this activity?
- Threading is a great activity to help children develop fine motor skills essential for being able to draw, write, do up buttons, tie shoelaces, open lunch boxes and more.
- Threading also helps to develop eye-hand coordination and concentration skills.
- Children learn mathematical concepts such as counting and sequencing
- Children learn language skills as they name colours.
Over to you
This article was developed by Jeanette Lord, Familylinks Coordinator. Jeanette has over 20 years experience working in and managing Early Childhood settings including Long Day Care, Preschool, supported Playgroups and OOSH services. Jeanette has a keen interest in supporting children with special needs and completed a specialisation in special education as part of her degree.