Skip to Content

Clothespin Fine Motor Activities for Kids

Clothespin Fine Motor Activities for Kids

Working with clothes pins is a great way to strengthen fine motor skills and the pincer grasp in young children. There are so many simple activities that can be done with clothespins to build hand strength. It’s an easy way to make learning fun. You can buy wooden clothespins at the dollar store.

Clothespin Learning Activities

DIY Clothes Line Activity

Clothes Pins


Our favorite clothespin activity is to make a clothes line between two chairs. First, we hung up pieces of felt like they were a piece of clothing. This was great fine motor practice because one hand had to hold the felt on the clothes line while the other hand worked the clothes pin. What a challenge for little fingers.

Other variations of this activity are to find matching socks and hang them up, hang up doll clothes, or cut the felt pieces into shapes and make it a shape matching activity.

If you have colored clothes pins (plastic colored clothes pins, dyed clothes pins, or colored with marker), sort them by color and clip them onto the line.


Clothespin Math Activity

Clothes Pins Activity


Numerical Order

A simple way to encourage number recognition is to write numbers on the clothes pins and challenge your child to put them in numerical order. If they are only clipping the clothes pin to the clothes line, the clothes pin will flip upside down. So make sure you are writing the numbers to account for that.

Number Recognition

Another fun idea is to write different numbers on index cards to clip onto the clothes line in numerical order. That way you aren’t having to write the numbers on clothes pins.

Match and Clip

Take a large paint stick and write the numbers going down the stick. Then, write matching numbers on clothes pins. Challenge your child to clip the matching number clothes pin to the paint stick. This can be used for skip counting too. 

Count and Clip

Write a number on a paper plate. Clip the correct number of clothes pins onto the paper plate. This is great for number recognition and counting. It also makes a great busy bag for the car or travel because it is easy to put together and store in a zippered pouch. Use mini paper plates if you are traveling so it is smaller and easier to take with you.

Clothespin Addition and Subtraction

Try clothes pin addition or clothes pin subtraction. Clip on clothes pins and push them together to solve an addition equation. Put on a number of clothes pins and move some away to solve a subtraction problem.


Clothespin Alphabet Activity

Match uppercase letters and lowercase letters on a clothes line by writing them on the clothes pins or index cards. Find and clip the correct letter.

For younger kids, start with only a few letters at a time. Older kids can be presented with the whole alphabet to sort through and find the matching letter.

If your child likes to just focus on clipping the clothes pin, then write the letters directly onto the clothes pin. If they like the challenge of hanging something up, write the numbers on a piece of felt or index cards. Another idea is to put the clothes pins in alphabetical order as your child sings along to the alphabet song.


Clothespin Spelling

Clothes Pins Activities

Spell your name on the clothes line or stretch out words and spell those too. There are so many options for spelling on the clothes line. Write letters on scraps of felt, index cards, or directly on the clothes pins to get started.


Clothespin Dice Game

Clothes Pin Game

This shelf organizer can be used to just clip one clothes pin in each spot (great for one to one correspondence), but we turned it into a clothes pin dice game for extra counting practice. This shelf organizer is also great for weaving through the holes. 


Count and Clip Cards


Here are fun ways to use clothes pins for counting practice. Print the Ocean Count and Clip Cards and let the counting begin. 



Make your own DIY Count and Clip Cards using stickers or dot markers, index cards, and clothes pins. I love the idea of using stickers of your child’s favorite characters to make these counting cards too. 


Clothes Pin Drop

Try a Clothes Pin Drop with clothes pins and a juice container. Dropping these into the container, shaking them, and then trying to get them out is a great time for toddlers and preschoolers.


Clothes Pin Color Matching

There are many ways you can match or sort colors with clothes pins. Paint, color, or dye the clothes pins different colors and then give these three fine motor activities a try.

Idea 1

Sort and clip them onto a matching colored popsicle stick. Colored popsicle sticks can be found at a craft store or you can paint your own.

Idea 2

Sort them by color and clip them onto your diy clothes line.

Idea 3

Clip them to matching colored dots on paper plate. Draw matching colored circles on a paper plate and clothes pins. Match and clip.

Idea 4

Match and clip them onto the bottom edges of Lego duplo blocks. Turn the blocks over and clip around the edge. 


Pom Pom Painting


Clip pom poms onto clothes pins. Dip them into paint and stamp your paper. It becomes a paint brush and it is so much fun!

Use them on dot marker pages (Our princess dot marker pages are popular!) or as just an open ended way to paint. There are so many fun ways to use these. If you are worried about the paint mixing, you can put the colors in a muffin tin so they don’t mix. 


Building with Clothes Pins

When you clip two clothes pins to a craft stick, it stands up on the clothes pins like legs. Using clothes pins and craft sticks, see what you can create or build. Add your favorite characters or plastic animals to your creations to make a whole world of things. 

Source: Frugal Fun for Boys


Matching Colors with Paint Chips

Get two matching sets of paint swatches from your hardware store. One is used to glue onto the clothes pins and the other is used to clip onto. I like how this looks at different shades of color and even order them from lightest to darkest. 

Source: Sew Fantastic


Ice Cream Scoop Order and Clip 

This game is great for visual discrimination and spatial awareness skills. Match the order of the ice cream scoops and clip them on. You could even use pom poms on the clothes pins instead of paper. 

Source: Happy Tot Shelf


Crazy Face Clothespin Game

This clothes pin game is a fun way to encourage using the clothespins over and over again. I can see this game making kids laugh and laugh with its silliness. 


Clothes Pin Craft Ideas

Looking for a clothes pin craft? Here are some great ideas that are a lot of fun to make and play with. These will inspires hours of pretend play. 


Clothespin Puppets

Use clothespins and paper to make clothespin puppets. How fun to make and pretend with. Have them talk to each other (great for speech development), make silly voices, or chase each other. 

Source: Easy Peasy and Fun


Clothespin Dolls

Use any type of clothespin to make clothespin dolls. Let kids design their own. Will it look exactly like the picture, no. But set out pieces of material, string, glue, paint, sequins, etc. and let the creativity begin. Turn a shoe box into a house for the clothes pin doll or build something for it out of Legos. 

Source: Recycle Art


Clothespin Dinosaurs

I love this dinosaur craft because the clothes pins allow the dinosaur to stand up. Make a few and let the pretend play begin! Build a fence for them with clothespins and craft sticks. Make rocks out of aluminum foil. Save cardboard pieces and styrofoam pieces to make a prehistoric world to go with them. Creating it and then playing with it gives your child hours of fun!

Source: Our Kid Things


Clothespin Car

Build a car with a clothes pin, stick, and buttons. Then, let the racing begin! Designing the car is so fun and the races that follow will be fantastic. You can also make a racing course inside using painters tape or outside using sidewalk chalk. 



So which one of these fun clothespin activities and crafts are you going to try first? It’s such an easy way to make learning fun and strengthen finger muscles at the same time. 


Mama to 3 Blessings

Monday 4th of January 2010

Very clever idea - I am teaching my son how to read & this would be a great idea to teach him is words that he is learning.Thank you !Nicole

Nicole {tired, need sleep}

Monday 17th of August 2009

I really like this idea - I'm imagining all the things it could be used for... matching colors, abcs, numbers, counting... wow! Great idea!


Saturday 15th of August 2009

Great idea. I am going to have to try this! I have a list of about three activities involving clothes pins on my "idea" list...and I am adding this one. But can you believe that we don't have any clothespins in the house?! I need to make a trip to the store soon I guess.

Thanks again for the great idea!Cathy aka The Attached Mama

Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth

Saturday 15th of August 2009

I am so glad you liked the clothespin post I did! We had such a fun time and like you, my kids loved just working with the clothespins! It was a great teaching tool!


Saturday 15th of August 2009

Thanks for linking up to my intro post!!! I love the clothesline idea, I haven't seen that before!

;) Carisa