Threading is a great activity to help a child's development. It helps to improve:
- Fine motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Hand manipulation (which is good practice for holding a pencil)
- Bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body at the same time)
- Language development – colours, shapes, numbers
- Maths skills - counting, creating repeating patterns
- Stimulates creativity
- Develops independence
Activities such as threading strengthens muscles in the hand which are needed for tasks such as writing and tying a shoelace. You can easily set up threading activities at home - see below. I would recommend introducing threading at around the age of 2 years old. Of course, every child is different and develops at their own pace. I have included ideas below which can be used with younger children, or before you attempt the main threading activity, and also ideas for older children or more advanced threaders.
Threading activities at home:
What you will need:
- Pipe cleaners, a shoelace or wool/string
- Items to thread such as buttons, beads, cotton reels, cut up straws and pasta (such as macaroni, penne, rigatoni)
What to do:
If you are using wool or string, I’d recommend wrapping some tape around the end to make it easier to thread. Start by using larger items such as cotton reels and rigatoni pasta as these will be easier to thread. As your child becomes more confident introduce smaller items such as beads and buttons. Threading is a tricky activity to begin with. Model to your child how to do it and help them along the way. You may want to start by holding the string, or taping it to a surface and letting them focus on threading the items. Then you can show them how to hold the thread in one hand and the objects to be threaded in the other.
You can also introduce other learning opportunities too. Ask your child to name the colour of the items they are threading. Can they count how many items they have threaded? Can your child make a pattern using different coloured beads? Such as, red, yellow, red, yellow etc.
*Always supervise children when they are using small items as they are a choking hazard.*
Beginners/younger children - try poking dried spaghetti or pipe cleaners through the holes of a colander. This is a nice simple activity that you could encourage your child to do before threading.
Advanced threaders/older children - from threading, children can progress onto basic sewing. Use materials such as burlap and a large embroidery needle to begin.
If you are looking for toys specifically for threading, you'll find a selection on our website. Just search for ‘Threading’ in the search bar or click here.