Toddler Time: Big Bead Threading for Little Fingers

I admit it…I’m double-dipping. Remember the caterpillar counting activity I posted? Well, I’m repurposing that for an activity with Little Brother as well. The pieces of the pool noodle serve as really large beads. And what’s an excellent fine-motor activity for toddlers??? Threading beads!
Here’s what you’ll need:  a foam pool noodle, a sharp knife, and a small piece of rope.

Follow the directions here to get your “beads” ready to go. No need to add numbers for the littles.
Once they’re ready, tie a knot on the end of the rope. Then give the beads to your toddler and show him how to thread the rope through the hole in the bead.
Don’t mind the do hair hanging from his hand…
The hardest part for Little Brother was figuring out how to pull the bead down once he got it on there. He would get it on and then reach for another bead and the first bead would then fall off. Practice makes perfect, right?


  1. Just did this yesterday with foam hair curlers cut in thirds and threaded with doubled over pipe cleaner. I augmented the hole a little, but my LO did pretty well. We talked about push and pull as he moved it over the pipe cleaner. I know I got this idea on the web, maybe Activity Mom? Great idea to start with the pool noodle!

  2. I did the caterpillar with my 2.5 year old, and he loved it. I didn't have a rope, so I cut up the tie from my old maternity robe. :)

  3. Ooh, this would be perfect for my little dude with autism. His fine motor skills are severely delayed and he gets really frustrated with threading.

  4. I'm from Western PA and around here we call them Lightening Bugs :)

  5. Thanks so much for the lovely idea! I've been wondering how I would get some beading in the house when I have a 'mouthing' toddler. Hubby just made these and cut some edges off to make squares, pentagons and octagons.

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