Play with Pipes!
This simple project turns hardware store leftovers into an imaginative, interactive toy. Plastic pipes and connectors are durable and endlessly re-workable. Keep some handy for a spontaneous exercise in spatial awareness and manual dexterity anytime!
What You Need:
- Plastic pipe pieces
- Plastic T-shaped and L-shaped pipe connectors
- Duct tape
- Saw (optional)
What to Do:
- Get your child to help you collect pieces of plastic pipe and connectors from family members, plumbers, or the hardware store. The trick to making pipe construction a success is to have lots of T and L connectors.
- Cut the pipes into manageable lengths. If you're purchasing the pipes at a hardware store, you can have them cut there.
- Cover any sharp edges with duct tape.
- Encourage your child to put different pieces of pipe and connectors together to see what kinds of shapes she can make. Ask her what kinds of materials can be passed through pipes. Help her brainstorm different games or challenges using the pipes (see below for a few ideas).
- Stand in one place. Challenge your child to create a system of pipes and connections that extends out from your body and comes back to it.
- Have your child make a small (hand held) structure with the pipes. Give her a small ball and see if she can get the ball from one end of the pipeline to the other by twisting and turning the pipe structure.
- If you are playing pipes with more than one child, give each child an identical set of pipe pieces and connectors. Have them each build a structure with the pieces. Ask them which one is longer and which one is taller. Why do they think the structures turned out that way?
- Have your child try to imitate a pipe structure (made by your or another child) for a mind-bending puzzle!
Pipes are an essential—but hidden and often overlooked—part of modern living. They can be fun and educational, too, and the possibilities are endless!