Everyday Fine Motor Materials – P is for Paperclip (Busy Bag)

Today’s activity is part of a series of A to Z everyday fine motor materials where we each take something simple that is in almost every home and share a fine motor activity for either your toddler or preschooler.

Our everyday material is paperclips! I made the kids a lovely printable with color dots for sorting which will also be a great addition to our collection of busy bags!

busy bags of paperclips

These fine motor busy bags consist of the following

I laminated our dot card as well as individual dots for the durability of the busy bags as they get used tons. But using card stock (cardboard) will work just as well for a quick fine motor activity.

I printed 2 pages of the printable dot cards, the one I laminated as is and the other I cut the circles out and then laminated those.
using the paper clip the right way around

With the circle dots color match the paper clips and have the older toddler or preschooler clip on the paperclips to the circle. This look my 5 year old a few tries as he kept holding the paperclip the wrong way around so it would not slip onto the circle.

Once he figured out that there were 2 sides to the paperclip things went smoothly and he was able to clip the paperclips onto the circles.
color matching busy bag

My young toddler who is always fascinated by what her brothers are doing come over to investigate. At age 2 she tried to color sort the paperclips onto the sheet of color dots.busy bag table

For my toddler packing up busy bags seems to currently be her favorite activity solution to things that are a bit beyond her current skill level.
packing paperclips away into a bsy bag

A few other things you can do with your preschooler with paperclips includes making a chain of them. This was a super fine motor activity as the clips would only chain in a certain way.

Once my preschooler figured this one out he made an entire chain of all the white clips.chaining paperclips

You can make a necklace.necklace from paperclips

Make a few shapes. Pretend it is a wiggly worm or make a spiral!paperclip shapes

More advanced learners can make letters and number shapes out of the paperclips.
learning and forming letters with paperclips

Add this idea to your busy bags or fine motor collection, PIN for later!
Everyday Fine Motor Materials P is for Paperclip busy bag from PowerfulMothering.com

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Nicolette Roux
Hi I'm Nicolette, a SAHM to 4 little ones age 6 and under. I love to share my simple and easy crafts & activities, printables and learning ideas for baby, toddler and preschoolers! Author of: Rice Play and 99 Fine Motor ideas for Ages 1-5. Follow me by email!
Nicolette Roux
Nicolette Roux

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99 fine motor ideas the bookHave a 1 to 5 year old?

99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 - 5 has playful ideas to help you create fun activities to encourage fine motor skills. Chapters devoted to DIY Toys, Busy Bags, Practical Life Skills, Sensory Activities, Art & Crafts, Early Learning and Holiday themed activities!

Each activity includes full color photos, a materials list and step-by-step instructions.

It’s a fantastic resource for parents, educators and caretakers.

Visit my Shop to find out more, view other titles and download free printables.


  1. Abigail says

    I love your ideas – especially making worms, spirals, numbers (and letters) out of paperclips. I will definitely be using these ideas with my reception class! I wonder if any of my children will be able to write their whole name using paperclips?? Thank you! :-)

  2. says

    Geez, last week I needed ONE Paper Clip! Just one. Had none at all in house, went to Thrift Store & found some. They are cute, pearl paint colored but they came in an enormous ziplock bag!?!? What was I going to do with all of these??? I had NO IDEA until Now! TY for sharing these fantastic educational resources! I’m sooo happy I grabbed them now!!! 😀


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