Here's a fun and easy, no-mess
activity for a long car trip or a rainy day. All you need is an inexpensive
pack of pipe cleaners, a nail clipper and a little imagination!
Use pipe cleaners of different
colors to create all kinds of creatures that you can later use for imaginative
for creating creatures with pipe cleaners:
Cut into different lengths using
a nail clipper or short pair of old scissors.
Twist them around a pencil to
create a coil
Connect them end to end by twisting
the ends together
Create a "candy-cane" effect
by twisting two different colors together
Most creatures can be made by
creating parts and then putting them together. Start with some fuzzy chicks.
Make a whole flock. Next, try a fuzzy pink teddy bear, and then move
on to mice, dogs, penguins, or other zoo animals. Try making bendable people
of different professions, or characters from their favorite shows that
can be used as action figures.
Don't get hung up if you
don't have the "right" color pipe cleaners for certain creatures. Remember
that penguins and lions can be purple too!
Save your creatures and
use them for imaginative play. On a recent trip, my daughters quickly
amassed a large collection of creatures during our long drive. They
began giving them names and propping them in nooks and crannies all over
the car. Eventually they even constructed a basket to contain their
At the end of the trip, we
put them all in a plastic zip baggie to use next time.
This activity seemed to lend
itself well to girls, especially because they seem to enjoy the "craftiness"
of this activity, but boys will enjoy it too.
specific ideas to get you started, there are some creative books on the
subject, loaded with pictures and instructions.
My family really enjoyed
the book Pipe Cleaners
Gone Crazy: A Complete Guide to Bending Fuzzy Sticks.
It's spiral-bound and even includes a set of pipe cleaners, although we
bought more since there weren't really enough for more than one child.
It's recommended for ages 4-8, but even my crafty 12-year-old really enjoyed
it. This activity kept my girls busy in the car for over two hours!