Your pantry offers plentiful things for regular play. Even the simplest of items in your pantry can be turned into super-item capable of engaging your children for hours of entertainment. The plain, old toothpick is one such item.
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You may wonder what all can be done with a simple toothpick. Well! The list is really long. From fine motor activities, to craft and even STEM activities, toothpicks do pack a punch when it comes to keeping children meaningfully busy.
Toothpick Fine Motor Activities
Research indicates that motor skills are on a steady decline. The smartphone, touchpad generation is slowly losing its grip on its fine motor skills.
More children are entering kindergarten without the prerequisite motor skills.
While this is concerning, we do not advocate young children getting into sedentary pattern writing.
It is boring and takes away the joy from learning. Instead, we recommend you to engage your child in playful activities that work magic for motor skills – both gross & fine.
Toothpicks are your top manipulative when it comes to fine motor activities. Though with younger kids we advise utmost supervision, kids 6 years and above can easily handle toothpicks with ease and little supervision.
1. Toothpick Drop
This is an immensely simple activity to do with children as young as two. What you need is a toothpick and saltshaker.
The task is to drop the toothpicks into the saltshaker through the holes. Easy peasy! Great for building concentration skills.
Related: Check out Fun Toddler Activities that are low-prep, quick and easy to set up.
2. Play Dough and Toothpicks
This activity is a great hit with children. Roll out play dough and let your children poke holes, draw lines and make simple patterns using toothpicks.
Let creativity unleash itself!
Children love to get hands-on with their food. Why not take the opportunity to polish some fine motor skills!
This wonderful activity will keep your children happily engaged while working on their motor skills.
4. Styrofoam Poking
This activity is immensely satisfying. There is something about poking that toothpick into Styrofoam that is just calming and fun.
Give your little one a big piece of Styrofoam and let them just enjoy.
5. Bubble Wrap Burst
Every child (and adult!) loves bursting bubble wrap and listening to the popping sound.
Make this pleasurable activity into a fine motor practice session by inviting your child to pop the bubble wrap using a toothpick. A sure hit with children of all ages.
6. Toothpick Punching
This toothpick fine motor activity is great for building concentration skills. Draw a shape on a sheet of paper and let your child punch holes, using a toothpick, along its outlines.
Quick Tip: Pair this activity with Fun Preschool Activities to bring learning home.
7. Fruit Toothpick Skewers
Make food fun with this delicious activity. A bowl of diced fruits like apple, watermelon, apricot, pears and grapes is a great start for this activity.
Invite your child to string various fruit pieces onto a toothpick to make a great fruit salad. Each toothpick should have at least three different fruits.
Tweak it a bit to transform it into toothpick math activity by introducing the concept of patterns.
8. Toothpick Colander Fine Motor Activity
Help your child practice their fine motor skills with this simple activity. All they need to do is stick the toothpick into the colander holes.
Make practicing fine motor skills exciting with this fun toothpick tree activity.
10. Letter and Shape Tracing
Draw out a few big letters or shapes on a blank sheet of paper using a marker and let your child trace the letter/shape using toothpicks.
It is a great pre-writing activity to help children learn letters and shapes.
Related: Also check out Engaging Kindergarten Activities that make learning fun.
Toothpick Art & Craft Activities
We love these cute little toothpick porcupines. All you need is play dough and toothpicks for this art activity.
11. Toothpick Sun Craft
Make a bright smiling sun craft using toothpicks and other commonly found supplies at home. This toothpick craft doubles up as a wonderful school craft project as well.
Related: Pair this Sun craft with Solstice Activities for Kids and learn all about this annual phenomenon.
This cute adorable toothpick craft activity is just perfect for your child and is a lovely add-on to your child’s room decor.
Looking to brighten your walls with your very own made art. Look no further! These toothpick paintings are oh-so-beautiful and will add just the right pop to your walls.
This toothpick art is not only stunning but also deeply calming. Knit your very own mandala brooch with nothing more than just colourful yarn, toothpicks and lots of patience.
Suitable for older kids, it doubles up as a great STEAM toothpick activity as well!
Have a toddler who loves to create art? Then, this will surely delight your little one. Hours of creative fun guaranteed and no dirty walls anymore!
There is something about stars and glitter that excite all of us. Make these adorable glittering stars for a garland or for the simple pleasure of crafting.
We do recommend using environmentally friendly glitter.
Make scratch art at home and give those expensive scratch art sheets a miss. Perfect for kids of all ages.
Paint cute little fishes and stick them onto toothpicks for a cute ocean theme craft.
19. Toothpick Wall Art
This wall art is beautiful and easy to make. There are many ways you can tweak it and use different crafting items to decorate these miniature wall arts.
This is a beautiful craft where you create toothpick stars that can be used as decorations, glued onto cards or gifts.
Toothpick STEM activities
This is a quick, easy to do toothpick-engineering activity for kids. Make cool toothpick twirlers for endless fun.
Related: Explore exciting Preschool Science Experiments to keep curiosity alive and make learning fun!
22. Toothpick Structures
A hands-on engineering STEM challenge for kids, this one will unleash your child’s creativity and aid their understanding of balance and symmetry.
Related: Make maths fun with Kindergarten Math Games.
23. Toothpick Star Trick
This is a classic toothpick trick that never fails to amaze kids. A cool STEM science activity that is perfect for kids across all age groups.
Challenge your kids to make a floating sailboat using toothpicks and commonly found material like twigs, styrofoam or sponge. This is a great STEM science activity to get started on buoyancy.
25. Toothpick Shapes
Toothpicks are a wonderful manipulative to build. Use them to build 3D shapes with clay and discuss their properties. This fun math activity for kids is great for motor skills, visualisation and spatial awareness.
26. Toothpick Marshmallow Balancing Structures
This cool engineering activity for kids inspires creativity and is serious fun.
The challenge is to construct a toothpick marshmallow structure and see if it is strong enough to bear the weight of superheroes (or animal figurines).
Related: Got a construction crazy kid? Check out Is Your Child is a Little Engineer to hone her innate skills.
27. Toothpick Spinners
Make a fun-spinning toy with this cool STEM activity. What you need is cardboard, scissors and toothpicks.
Step 1: Cut cardboard into various shapes like triangle, circle and square.
Step 2: Stick out the toothpick through the center of the shapes so that its nearly one-third through the shape.
Ta-da! Your toothpick spinners are ready for the test. Spin them on a flat, smooth surface and see if all the shapes spin for an equally long time.
This engineering STEM activity for kids is pretty challenging. You can use a chocolate egg or plastic egg or even a small ball will do equally well.
Club this STEM activity with your space themed unit and create constellations using toothpicks and marshmallows (or jelly beans or grapes!).
Your children will never forget a constellation name again!
30. Measure Your Pulse Rate
This science activity is a great hit with kids as it gives them a chance to measure their pulse rate. All you need is a toothpick and little dough.
Roll a small cube of dough and stick a toothpick in it. Place this dough-toothpick assembly on the back of your child’s wrist.
The toothpick will indicate the pulse rate by moving every time your heart beats!
This is an edible STEM activity that makes rock candies at home. Sure to get children delighted and squeal with glee.