Monday, February 27, 2012

Pipe Cleaner Pick Up Sticks

Have you ever played pick-up sticks? I was thinking about this game the other day when my kids went a little crazy with the pipe cleaners and dumped them all over the floor.

The traditional game requires players to pick up one stick at a time (from a big crazy pile) without disturbing the remaining sticks. That was too tricky... so we made up our own rules and embedded a little math and color learning into our pipe cleaner pick up sticks game!

Materials Needed:

  • color dice and number dice (we made our color dice with a Rubik's cube, white paper, and tape)
  • pipe cleaners
  • markers
  • bucket

   1. Cut paper into squares and then tape them onto rubik's cube.

   2. Color each square a different color (based on pipe cleaner colors)

   3. Put all the pipe cleaners into a bucket or basket.

   4. Dump them onto the floor! My son loved the sensory experience of having them all fall on his head as they fell to the floor.

   5. Roll both dice. Whatever you roll tells you what color and how many pipe cleaners to pick up. This picture shows yellow and number 5!

   6. Count the pipe cleaners to make sure you got the right amount. My son picked up 5 yellow pipe cleaners for his first turn.

   7. Use the pipe cleaners from your turn to create something crazy or silly! We made candy canes, glasses, towers, letters, squiggles, etc.

   8. Have the next person roll and take their turn doing the same thing.

   9. Take turns picking up pipe cleaners, counting, and creating until all the pipe cleaners are picked up (or your little ones are done playing!)

Skills we embedded into this activity:

  • counting
  • naming colors
  • identifying numbers
  • identifying colors
  • turn taking
  • following directions
  • sharing
  • creating!

Do you ever make up silly games?

What are other activities that you like to do with pipe cleaners?


  1. LOVE it! I grew up just grabbing random stick, so I might leave out the die.

    1. It will be totally fun that way too! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  2. such a great & easy idea! I love it. I think we'll have to make this one happen sometime soon.

  3. I love this activity. My kids love playing games with dice. I think we'll have to give this one a try. Thanks for linking up to AfterSchool.

    1. My son loves dice games too... so we always fun a way to add them in. There must be something about throwing them that is so exciting :)

  4. What a cute idea! I'll have to try this out as we learn our colors in another language too! Thanks for linking up for our Afterschool Party!

  5. Love this idea! My little girl is 2 1/2 and enjoys practicing her colours and numbers - but I don't think she's ever played with pipe cleaners before! Time to start! Thanks for the idea :)

  6. This is such a fun way to use pipe cleaners! Thanks for sharing with the afterschool blog hop!

  7. Hi Kristina,
    I'm featuring your post at the AfterSchool party today. Thanks for sharing with us last week!


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