How To Make DIY Clothespin Pattern Sticks For Preschool Fine Motor Skills

I needed a cheap, fun, hands-on way to work on fine motor skills for my preschool class and found this Montessori website with some pattern sticks. I liked the pattern idea and I had a plethora of craft sticks just waiting to be used, so I started painting (please note this was pretty messy, especially if you let the children help, but cleans up easy). After I was done painting, I realized I could have just used paint card samples from a home improvement store. But I had already purchased the craft sticks and needed another tutorial, sooo…

pattern sticks for preschool fine motor skillsI am also doing letter pattern sticks for name and site word recognition and you could also do another fun color recognition version here. For this project you will need:

  • Popsicle craft sticks
  • Clothespins
  • Tempura paint (in various colors)
  • Black marker

First I decided on what colors I wanted (or had on hand) and painted the top portion of each clothes pin. Once dry, I did the other side in a different color. This gives you more options when your little ones are looking for the color they need for a pattern and saves on having to buy a ton clothespins. A tip to make this go a bit quicker is to clip them all to a piece of cardboard, paint them all the various colors you want, and then pop a hair dryer over them for a few minutes.

pattern clothes pins for fine motor skills

Next, I decided what kinds of patterns I would want for my sticks and started painting. I learned the hard way that you want to make the sizes a bit bigger than mine as my daughter has little hands and it was difficult to get all the clothes pins on when she did it. But she DID do it herself, so kudos to her. Also, I added regular ABAB patterns (red, yellow, red, yellow) and did add a few AABAAB patterns (green, green, black, green, green, black). Then I had fun with some ABCD patterns as well.

pattern sticks for preschoolers

After they were dry, I took a black marker and added the lines to separate the patterns a bit better – especially if you do an AAB pattern. They dry pretty quickly (especially if you use the hair dryer trick) so I was able to let my own preschooler have at it and showed her how to pinch the clothespins. It was difficult for her at first and I noticed she used her whole hand to pinch them apart until she got the hang of it.

prek pattern sticks pattern sticks 8

As you can see, she is really happy she was able to do it all by herself. These clothespin pattern activities will get added to Kirsten’s at home activities for her to play with and practice whenever she likes. Or whenever this mama needs a few minutes of quiet time without actually wondering what she is getting into. I also made a set for my preschool class.

*Sidenote – please excuse my 8 year old in the background CLIMBING my pantry to get something. You can tell our photos are very real and not very pintresty this time around. 



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