A stash of bendable straws, or “silly straws” as kids like to call them, is a great thing to have on hand for playtime. They’re inexpensive, colorful, and an excellent open-ended toy for toddlers and school-aged kids alike. Today we’re sharing two of our favorite ways to enjoy an afternoon with silly straw play.
For these activities, you will need:
- Silly straws in various colors and patterns
- Pipe cleaners
- Glue (optional)
Building three-dimensional structures with straws allows kids to be creative while learning a few mathematical principles like division and geometry. To prep your straws, cut them all down to the same height just below the bendable neck. Next, cut the pipe cleaners into thirds.
Bend the pipe cleaner segments and use them to connect the straws. Continue joining straws with pipe cleaners to create two-dimensional shapes.
To make three-dimensional structures that are sturdy, be sure to connect all touching straws with pipe cleaners.
Each corner of this triangle required three separate pipe cleaner connectors.
Once your little engineers are done building their 3D structures, you can extend this activity even further by turning to jewelry making. Not only is this second project fun, it’s also a good way to practice various sorting and fine motor skills.
Hand over the scissors and ask your kids to cut the straws into sections of various lengths. These will be the beads.
After the beads are cut, ask your children to sort them according to size, color or texture.
Cut a piece of yarn for the necklace. Then tie a straw bead to one end to prevent the other beads from falling off as your child threads them onto the yarn.
Let the kids string on their beads in any patterns they like. Knot the two ends together and secure with glue if you want to ensure an extra strong hold. When the glue is dry, it’s time for them to show off their silly straw creations.