$1.76 fine motor activity, and “The News”

The boys using the fine- motor activity

As I am sure you have all been waiting on tenterhooks (any one actually know what those are?), I shall finally reveal “the news” I referred to a while back, & reasonably justify my blog-neglect.

But for those of you who are all about business, I will first show my super cheap & easy fine motor activity.  (By the way, I am estimating on the $1.76.  Most of us probably have all but the first material on hand already.)


  • parmesan cheese shaker ($1 at The Dollar Tree)
  • pipe cleaners (I had some in our craft stuff, but I think I they originally came from the dollar spot at Target)
  • pony beads (also already had, but I think the whole big box of them was a few dollars @ Target or a crafts store)
  • small bowl/container (for pony beads)
  • tray/plate (also had, but was $1 at the Dollar Tree)

Put a few pipe cleaners through the holes in the parmesan shaker’s lid ( I used 4, varied in height, but I don’t know if that actually matters).  Put some pony beads in a small bowl or container.  Put the whole thing on a tray. Ta-da! Job done!

I actually thought this fine-motor activity would be too challenging/frustrating for Bl (21 months), so I put it on the top of our “job shelf” with the theory then only Br (4 yrs) would reach for it.  Umm, yeah, I was apparently wrong.

The boys using the fine- motor activity
Note which child is concentrating on the task, and which is just throwing the beads on the tray…

Turns out the next morning both boys were playing on the couch, and noticed the tray on the top.  Bl industriously started picking up individual beads and carefully (and to my surprise, successfully!) threading them on to the pipe cleaners.  Br, on the other hand, was just dropping the beads on the tray and being generally squirrelly.  I actually had to give him a little reminder about being respectful of his little brother’s concentration!  Goes to show mom’s definitely not always right…. :)

It was still on the edge of Bl’s abilities,so I periodically assisted by slipping the beads down a little farther on the pipe cleaner so he would have room to slip more on.  It was a nice opportunity to reinforce some color words (“Oh, you’re putting on a yellow bead now? That looks nice on the blue pipe cleaner…”).  With an older child (i.e., if Br had shown any interest….), you could probably use it as an opportunity for some pattern making (make a pattern with the beads on one pipe cleaner and see if they can copy it).

Okay, now to “the news”/ blog-neglect justification: turns out there will be a third to our herd!  While making a Target run to get supplies to finish these on Halloween, I picked up a pregnancy test to “rule out” one theory why I hadn’t been feeling so good lately….

Turns out, it ruled it in.

So in deference to the misery that is the first trimester of pregnancy, I opted to sleep when ever the chance presented itself, and neglect blogging.  I actually didn’t mean to be so thorough in my neglect.  I thought I had published a post on gluten-free pie making on Thanksgiving, but my pregnancy-adled brain apparently didn’t quite finish the job.  I will try to remedy that one soon…

(As a side note, I’d heard they had done a study and determined that women lose 8% of their brain mass during pregnancy.  My geek brain has spent some time wondering if that loss is cumulative, or if the brain mass makes at least a partial recovery.  And is that 8% a flat volume, or a relative percentage? In other words, am I at worst case-scenario of 76% of my pre-kid brain mass, or subsisting at a moderately less un-nerving 85-90-or-so%?  These are the deep thoughts that have kept me from having time to blog. :)  )

Now that I am starting into the 2nd trimester, hopefully I will be better on top of things. Umm, for awhile.

Please bring on the advice for dealing with being outnumbered by your children, and recommendations for used minivans!!!

Montessori Monday

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9 thoughts on “$1.76 fine motor activity, and “The News””

  1. Fun activity. I have 2 boys too- 3.5 years old and 23 months. I’ll have to try this out and see who picks it first. I agree, I would have chosen it for the older one too.
    Congrats on Baby #3 and I agree with Maryanne, Toyota Sienna is the best minivan!! :)

  2. Hello buttercup I really enjoy your blog and I’m always looking for new fun and educational activities to do with my 3 year old granddaughter. so belated best wishes on the third to your herd I’m planning to experiment with your playdough recipe using cocoa instead of jello because I love Cocoa and I haven’t had it in quite some time so you might say I miss Cocoa but mostly I miss ficus trees….and buttercup and her beautiful babies (to the reader sorry I couldn’t resist a ccouple of inside jokes) I love and miss you buttercup and I hope to see you and your herd sometime soon. And I know you re busy but drop me a line when you can…

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