Fun with Pipe Cleaners


Let me tell you the truth. I hadn’t heard or seen anything strangely called as pipe cleaners until very recently. What is it anyway? And how do they clean pipes? Until a little research told me that these actually act like brushes to clean smoking pipes. The same pipes are adapted for children’s’ craft where these beauties bend and bow to form shapes and patterns.

I discovered them first on Pinterest and then at V’s summer camp. So when I found pipe cleaners at our craft store, I happily pocketed them for later use.

Pipe cleaners have a thin wire wrapped in polyester and nylon. These pipes come in bright colours, making these attractive playthings for kids. The wire inside can be bent easily without the use of any force. Which is why they are open to be shaped into varied things. We began by bending the wires to form a few shapes. V was clearly not interested. But when I made a balloon, like the one below, his eyes lit up! So there…I had his attention!


So what did I do next? Made spectacles for Pintu & Pluto. V agreed that they looked really good. It was quite a struggle to keep the glasses in place though, because they would keep falling off much to V’s chagrin! We were well into the breakfast and V was finally having enough fun to sit.


Pipe cleaners are an excellent resource for early literacy. V has recently picked up the numbers 1-10 and on a good day he follows the sequence. On most other days, it goes like “1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9”.


We haven’t formally taught numbers. So his voluntary learning is a great starting point for me. Recently at the book fair I bought a book called One, two, count with Pooh. Which kid doesn’t love Pooh? V has many Pooh merchandise, a mug, balls, a stuffed Pooh, so these books have a high recall for him. This one is all about numbers with Pooh as the central character. It is a simple flap book that has numbers 1- 5.


All I had to do is ask V which number he wanted me to make. He’d give me a number and I would bend the pipe cleaner to make the number. I realised that the pipe cleaner is an excellent resource to teach writing as well. Next up, he matched every number I formed with the corresponding number in the book.


Recently, I wrote a post on Parentous about how I find inspiration from so many awesome mommies on the web. In my pursuit to finding fun activities for V, I found myself on Pinterest more than usual. And what a brilliant social network it is! From food, to education, to activities and crafts Pinterest should be your go-to resource if you have a child, no matter what age!

So remember to look up Pinterest and don’t forget to follow me. 🙂

If you are looking for more pipecleaner ideas look up this.

Not enough? Craving for more? Here are some more amazing pins for pipecleaner activities. 


And if that is not enough, then check out this Google Hangout video hosted by Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art. Here you will find some more amazing ideas for pipe cleaner activities from mommy bloggers in the UK.

Remember the Havells Ad where the kids bend wires to form tongs and necklaces? What a wonderful piece of commercial! Not just does it promote a particular feature of a brand but also shows the sheer ingenuity that kids have. Pipecleaners remind me of the commercial…just another wire unleashing creativity.


2 thoughts on “Fun with Pipe Cleaners

    • Oh! I’ve come to love them too Vandana. Easy to bend and totally child friendly one can think of so many ways to use them. We are still blowing our thought bubbles. Thank you for coming here Vandana. I love Mumsphere 🙂

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