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Learning to use clothespins

Our son is now 26 months old.

This is a very basic practical life activity that is easy to do and helps to develop fine motor skills. It’s from the book Teach Me to Do It Myself. (Please note: I use the terms “he” and “him” in this exercise because my child is a boy and I find using “he/she” and “him/her” to be clunky.)
Montessori Monday
Materials needed

  • Clothespins
  • Basket


  1. Fill a small basket with clothespins and gently move it to your work area.
  2. Sit with your child to the left of you (or to the right of you if your child is left-handed).
  3. With the basket in front of you, begin by slowly attaching the clothespins, showing your child how to open and close them as you do.
  4. Once you’ve attached about five clothespins, place the basket in front of your child, so he can attach some more.
  5. When your child has finished, show him how to remove them and put them back into the basket.

Additional activities

  • If you have a clothes drying rack, try giving your child some clothespins and small pieces of laundry to hang up.

Safety note: Be sure to show your child that clothespins are not toys. They can hurt if little fingers get caught in them.

Clothespin activity

Clothespin activity

My experience: I think my son is a little too young for this exercise. He has difficulty pinching the clothespins together (I may need to play with them a little myself to loosen the springs). He can only get the clothespins on the basket by turning them upside-down and he pulls them off the basket in such a way that it destroys them. Oops. Good thing they’re only clothespins. Oh, and he did have fun dumping the basket of clothespins out onto the table.

What other activities can you think of that teach children how to use clothespins?

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2 Responses to Learning to use clothespins

  1. My son is 28 months and he’s only just started to be able to open the clothes pegs on his own – having said that he may have got there a bit sooner but I didn’t do a presentation, I just left some (with numbers written on them) pinned to a shoelace on the back of a chair for him to discover. We also had some that i painted different colour for colour matching to a cardboard colour wheel.
    The motion of opening them is great for strengthening little ones fingers and pincer grip

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