Here’s a quick, easy, and cute craft to help your preschooler develop his or her fine motor and bilateral coordination skills! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Popsicle stick
- 3-4 pipe cleaners (different colors)
- A button with 4 holes
- Double sided tape or adhesive putty
- Make the body. First, wind each pipe cleaner around the popsicle stick to create the caterpillar’s fuzzy body. Leave a little space at the the end so you can tape the caterpillar’s head on later. You may have to demonstrate this step to your child and possibly help him with your hand guiding his. This step helps develop your child’s pincer grasp (thumb and index finger pinched together), wrist dexterity, and bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination is an important skill to master as it teaches the left and right sides of the brain to communicate. This allows your child to use the left and right sides of her body together to perform functional tasks.
2. Make the head. Thread half of a pipe cleaner through a button hole. Then, thread the other side of the pipe cleaner through the hole directly next to it (not diagonally). You should have 2 ends of the pipe cleaner sticking out the top of the button. Pinch them into a v shape. This pipecleaner will the end up being the antennae of the caterpillar. The bottom 2 holes of the button are the caterpillar’s eyes. Threading the pipe cleaner reinforces pincer grasp, hand-eye coordination, and bilateral coordination, so try to let your child do this herself. However, you might need to demonstrate this step first, as this type of threading may be confusing to a small child.
3. Trim the pipe cleaner antennae to the size you want. Your child might lack the hand strength to cut through the pipe cleaner, but try to let him attempt it first. If he’s unsuccessful, place your hand over his to help. This step develops hand strength, scissoring skills, and bilateral coordination.
4. Attach. Peel off a bit of double-sided tape or adhesive putty and roll it into a ball. Stick the tape/putty to the back of the button and then place the button on the bare end of the stick. Press the button firmly onto the popsicle stick. This step develops fine motor dexterity, bilateral coordination, and pincer strength. If you find that the tape or putty isn’t sticking the button on well, you as the parent might need to use hot glue.
And your caterpillar is complete!