A young child builds a tower using craft sticks and clothespins
Share
Ages:
all

Activities

9 Ways to Use Clothespins During Play Time

Feb 19, 2018

When I was a child, my grandparents had a long clothesline in their backyard, perfect for air-drying everything from bed sheets to bathing suits in the warm summer sun. And of course where there’s a clothesline, there’s also a big bucket of clothespins. At the time, I never imagined using them for anything other than their intended purpose. Now a few decades and two kids later, I have a similar bucket of clothespins in my house that has nothing to do with laundry. Here’s how we’re using them instead.


1. A Simple Colour-Matching Wheel 


What you’ll need:

  • 
clothespins
  • a paper plate

  • ruler

  • markers and/or paint

Help your kiddo learn to recognize their colours with this easy-to-make matching game. Start by dividing a paper plate into equal sections, and then add colour to each section using markers or paint. Next, colour a section of each of your clothespins. To play, simply ask your little one to clip the clothespin to the matching colour section on the wheel. Easy breezy!

You’ll find more great paper plate activities here.


2. DIY Paint Brushes


What you’ll need:

  • clothespins

  • a variety of “brush” materials
  • an old muffin tin
  • paint
  • paper

Let your little artist explore colour and texture with a set of cool homemade paintbrushes. For our brush materials, we used crinkled tinfoil, a pom-pom, a piece of kitchen sponge, a flower petal, a bit of saran wrap and some pipe cleaners. Each material was clipped to a clothespin “handle.” Once your brushes are set up, put a bit of paint in each section of your muffin tin and let your wee one get to work on their next great masterpiece.


You'll Also Love: 10 Fun Ways to Play with Tape


3. Pom Pom Pickup

What you’ll need:

  • clothespins

  • pom poms in various sizes

  • your choice of containers

This pom pom pickup game is just the thing when you need an easy way to keep your wee one entertained (and could use a little quiet time). Not only does it help your kiddo with colour recognition, but it also works to strengthen their pincer grip, along with their hand-eye coordination. To set up the activity, you’ll need a pile of pom poms in various sizes and colours, as well as a clothespin. For our version, we used plastic cups in colours that match the pom poms, but you could also use small paper plates and indicate the desired colour using paint or markers. To play, have your little one pick up each pom pom with the clothespin, and drop it into the container with the matching colour.


4. Clothespin Counting Game

What you’ll need:

  • clothespins

  • jumbo playing cards

Number recognition has never been so much fun, thanks to this super simple counting game. Start with a set of jumbo playing cards, and remove the face cards from the deck. Have your little one pick a card from the top of the deck, and then clip the correct number of clothespins to the card to match the number.


5. Find the Missing Number


What you’ll need: 


  • clothespins

  • markers

  • craft sticks

Once your child is comfortable with number recognition, it’s time to move on to something a little more challenging. For this activity, you’ll need to write numbers from one to 10 on a set of craft sticks, leaving some of the numbers in the sequence out so that they’re missing. Then write numbers from one to 10 on a set of clothespins. Your little one will have to identify the missing number(s) on each craft stick, and then select and clip the numbered clothespin(s) needed to correctly complete the sequence.


6. Clothespin STEM Challenge

What you’ll need: 


  • clothespins

  • craft sticks

  • a flat surface

This invitation to build and explore couldn’t be easier! Simply set out a pile of clothespins and a stack of craft sticks for your child, and see what kind of cool structures they can create. Want to add an extra layer of creativity? Have them paint the clothespins and craft sticks in a rainbow of different colours first.


You'll Also Love: 11 Clever Ways to Reuse Gift Wrap and Tissue for Play


7. An Alphabet Clothesline

What you’ll need:

  • 
string

  • paper
  • 
scissors
  • markers

  • clothespins

Who knew clipping socks to a clothesline could be so much fun? Help your wee one work on their letter recognition skills with this fun letter matching game by Sarah Noftle.


8. Coffee Filter Butterflies

What you’ll need:

  • 
coffee filters

  • clothespins

  • paint and brushes


Celebrate the beauty of butterflies with this colourful painting craft by Jackie Currie.


9. 3-in-1 Counting Busy Bag Activity

What you’ll need:

  • 
clothespins
  • craft sticks

  • permanent marker

  • letter stickers
  • animal stickers (or stickers in other fun shapes) 



Check out this great tutorial by Megan McChesney for creating a take-along activity set that offers lots of different ways to play, while building key skills like number matching, colour matching, counting and reading.

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.