I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was a little less than stellar, with my little man contracting a nasty virusy-thing on Wednesday night. This meant that we couldn’t go out of town to visit my family as planned, which was a major bummer. It also didn’t take long for me to realize that with all of his Christmas crafts/gifts finished and us at home 3 days sooner than we thought, I had no quiet activities planned. And believe me, the mom of a little toddler boy needs some quiet activities. Fortunately, I have about 394935748648674 crafts pinned for him. We’ll get to them all, I am sure.

This one immediately caught my eye because it is easy, requires no preparation, and has a quick clean up/turnaround time. If you’ve never crafted with a toddler, I can not stress that last part enough. A couple weeks ago, in the amount of time it took me to put scissors back in the knife block, my little man grabbed an open container of blue paint (which I thought was out of the reach of his go-go gadget arms), stuck his hands in, and finger painted all over my couch. The fact that it is washable and came out with some warm water (only some of which were tears), laundry detergent, and scrubbing does not keep me from shuddering even as I type this. The therapist in me screams POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS! Oh the horror.

**For those of you reading this, judging me and thinking, Well what did you expect? You should have him confined to a space where he can’t hurt anything, I will tell you that we always paint with him safely strapped in his high chair. He loves it. But once the painting is finished and he realizes he is strapped in there with no paint, no snack, and no ability to get himself out, he is no longer a willing participant. Hence why I typically let him resume running around while I finish cleaning up. Never again, obviously. Mommy’s near stroke was enough to keep him strapped in there for craft time until we are painting his college dorm room. But I digress.

So back to this craft, Icicle Ornaments from the wonderfully creative Jackie over at Happy Hooligans. All you need for this project is a bag of pony beads and silver pipe cleaners, both of which can be yours for less than $10 total. I’m always looking for things to help my little guy work on his fine motor skills, and I am always so impressed by his patience when we tackle projects like this.

Simply pour all of the beads into a toddler-friendly container. He loved the sensory aspect of this. I mean, who doesn’t love the feeling of a bunch of cool beads on your hands?!

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Put one bead on and twist the end of the pipe clearer around it so that all of the other beads stay on, and let your little one go to town putting beads on! You may need to help with some of the smaller beads, but I ultimately let him do this himself. He really liked it, and I loved watching his focus.

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When he was finished, I twisted the top of the pipe cleaner into a loop(ish). Since it’s pretty light, I think an ornament hook will be just fine to hang it.

Next, I separated the beads a little bit so that the silver showed through. This was a great recommendation by Jackie in the original post!

Then, I wrapped the whole decorated pipe cleaner around a pen. Jackie suggested a pencil but of course none of those were anywhere to be found, and I was nervous to leave my little guy alone for too long with beads just the right size for nostrils and windpipes. Potato, potatto. It worked like a charm. He loved how they “bounced” when he pulled on the bottom.

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My almost two year old was over this project after a few pipe cleaners, so I finished up a few more. I love that you can’t even tell whose are whose – that’s how simple this project is. I think he’ll really enjoy hanging them on our tree (as opposed to a dying rosemary tree, pictured here).