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Apple Tree Threading

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My favourite activities are the ones that work a few skills at once. Why? Because my 3.8 year old daughter needs short, engaging activities. This apple tree threading activity helps to develop several skills…


  • Chenille sticks – approx 2-3
  • Beads or food pouch lids
  • Play dough

What to do:

Start by cutting the chenille sticks in half. Use one as the ‘trunk’ (stuck in to the play dough) and wind the rest around as branches – okay so the tree may look a little barren but it’s the learning rather than the appearance that matters!

Invite your little one to thread the ‘apples’ on to the branches. I deliberately chose only red and green so that we could talk about the colours for apples.

As she threaded, we talked about the initial sound for ‘apple’ and practised it. We are using the UK Education Department’s Letters and Sounds Program, so check that out if you are looking at starting phonics with your little learner.

Why you should try this activity

As mentioned in the intro, I like to choose activities that cover a few learning skills at once. Here’s a few reasons why this is a good activity to try:

  • Fine motor skills: the pincer grip is needed to grab hold of the beads
  • Hand-eye coordination: it takes a fair amount of focus for little ones to thread the beads on to the sticks
  • Early literacy: we practised the ‘a for apple’ sound
  • Language development: talking about the colours of apples and where we find them.
  • Early numeracy: counting the apples on the tree.
  • Making Connections to the world around us: understanding where apples come from.

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Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is a trained teacher mama to three awesome children and wife to Greg. As a family of expats, they travel the world every couple of years for new adventures. Right now, they live in Vienna, Austria.

One thing Sian is super passionate about? Helping mums worldwide navigate the early years of parenthood.

You can join her on her brand new venture, This Playful Home, by visiting www.thisplayfulhome.com or clicking the email sign up button below!

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