Working with styrofoam and toothpicks is a great fine motor skills activity for kids of all ages. It will strengthen the tripod grasp which is important for holding a pencil. This makes it a great pre-writing activity for young children.
Building Structures with Styrofoam
The best part about building toothpick structures is that it is an open ended activity. Younger kids will have fun building different structures in a unique way. For older kids, they can build particular 3D shapes or even hydrogen atoms.
You could even challenge your child to build an animal or a character from a book. What a cool toothpick-engineering activity!
Draw various shapes on a big piece of styrofoam. I collect big pieces of styrofoam that come in packages for this activity. Challenge your child to push the toothpicks into the styrofoam along the lines of each shape. We tried to do the letters of our names and it didn’t work out. Simple shapes and lines are best.
Turn this into a toothpick math activity by setting up addition and subtraction equations and use toothpicks in the styrofoam to solve the problem.
Simple Toothpick Color Matching Activity
Turn styrofoam cups upside down so the bottom is facing up. Poke 6 different holes in the bottom of the cup that are just big enough for a toothpick to slide through. Using different colored markers, color around each hole. Then, color the bottom of a handful of toothpicks (or buy colored toothpicks). Challenge your child to push each toothpick through the matching colored holes.
Golf Tees and Styrofoam
Looking for fun toddler activities? This one is perfect for you! Using a thick piece of styrofoam (we found ours at Dollar Tree), hammer golf tees into it. This is a great fine motor skill activity for young children.
Toothpick Colander Fine Motor Activity
This toothpick drop activity is fun and an immensely simple activity to set up. Turn a colander upside down and challenge your toddler or preschooler to push the toothpicks through the holes of the colander. When they have dropped them all through the holes, lift up the colander to gather the toothpicks and start again.
Using styrofoam, toothpicks, and other materials to make a robot is a cool stem activity.
Making a styrofoam zoo is a great way to set up your child with hours of pretend play. Using a piece of styrofoam that has different sections, work together to paint or color each section. Then gather your favorite animals and characters to make a zoo.
Spaghetti Noodle Lacing
Using a small ball of play dough or a styrofoam piece, a spaghetti noodle or toothpicks, and cereal rings, you can make a fun threading activity for toddlers or preschoolers.
Look at these cute little toothpick porcupines from Early Activities and Projects. They use a small ball of clay or play dough and toothpicks to make these animals. What a great fine motor skill activity for young learners.
Make styrofoam patterns like they did at Babble Dabble Do using a styrofoam meat dray and water color paint.
Easy Peasy and Fun shows you how to make penguins from styrofoam balls.
Try toothpick painting from Fun Crafts Kids.
Make and fly toothpick twirlers from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls.
Make fruit toothpick skewers for snack time. Thread various fruit pieces onto the toothpicks or skewers and then have fun eating your creations. Count the different types of fruit pieces as you thread them or make patterns with the fruit. What a delicious learning idea!
Make a fun toothpick tree activity like they did at Mama OT. This pom pom toothpick tree is fun for Christmas time, but can be made to go with any season.
Toothpick STEM Activities from Teaching Mama involves using marshmallows and toothpicks to make specific snowflake designs.
So which of these great ideas will you try first?