Cloud Pipe Cleaner & Bead Rainbow Pattern Activity

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This bead rainbow pattern activity is a fun preschool project for rainbow, St. Patrick’s Day, and weather themes!

Simple, everyday craft supplies - pipe cleaners and beads - make a fun patterning activity.

A little more than a week ago, a larger portion of the US than you would expect was honored with a beautiful double rainbow, and I am celebrating with an easy bead rainbow pattern activity!

With St. Patrick’s day on the horizon, I already wanted to include a few cute rainbow activities in his week of school. Plus, we are really branching out from AB patterns and I really wanted him to be able to take the reigns. Therefore, this bead rainbow pattern activity is extra special!


A caveat: anything close to an indigo-hued bead is not among the random pony beads I have accumulated over the past three decades. So we forego indigo here for the perhaps more familiar six colors for our rainbow pattern activity. My apologies to indigo! So when I thought of this activity, the first step was to make some clouds out of pipe cleaners that would serve as the holder of the patterns. But guess what – a certain four-year old snatched each and every one of my white pipe cleaners. So hooray – my frugal self got to make a stop at Michaels for the first time since the holidays!

Cloud Pipe Cleaner & Bead Rainbow Pattern Activity

Supplies Needed:
White pipe cleaners
Pony Beads

I tried a couple different ways to make a cloud-looking cloud out of a pipe cleaner. In the end – this was the best way for me:

  1. Take one part of one pipe cleaner and fold about 1″ upon itself (or whatever size you like)
  2. Take the unfolded part and make a small loop. Thread the end through the folded section of pipe cleaner. Bend it at that point to somewhat secure the loop.
  3. Repeat the loop process two more times to make three total loops.
  4. Pick a better side to be the “front” and flip it so you are looking at the “back”.
  5. Use the remaining pipe cleaner to somewhat fill in the empty spots. I did a sort of zig zag pattern.
  6. Get the second pipe cleaner and weave a portion of it through the loops and zig zags to give it some stability and dimension. My thought was to consider how long of a pipe cleaner I want at the end, and just weave the rest through the cloud.
  7. Shape your cloud a little if you desire. The main thing I did was stick my nail on the flat part and push up a little bit just to give the bottom some shape.
  8. Finally, make the remaining length of pipe cleaner into a rainbow shape, either by hand or by curving it around a large jar, can, or other circular object.
  9. Fold over 1/2″ or so of the length of pipe cleaner so it isn’t so sharp, and run your hand over the cloud to be sure there aren’t any sharp spots.

Here is a quick tutorial to make this bead rainbow pattern activity with pipe cleaners and pony beads.

Hooray – you’ve made bizarre leaking clouds! Oh wait, this bead rainbow pattern activity isn’t done yet. Beads!

Grab a bunch of rainbow colored beads, including the elusive indigo if available. I went ahead and made one complete rainbow, two with patterns for him to complete, and a final one ready for patterning! Another neat way to use this bead rainbow pattern activity would be to draw some patterns on index cards for your kid to copy. Or you could take it to another level by specifying the type of pattern (AB, ABA, etc) that he or she should try to make!

With time flying at an unimaginable pace, it is nice to have a simple activity that I normally would have been able to do with my myriad craft supplies! Have fun doing a fine motor activity yourself so your child can enjoy this fine motor bead rainbow pattern activity!

Linked up over at Inspire Me Mondays, Good Tips Tuesday, Everything Early Childhood Link Up, A Little Bird Told Me Link Party, and Kitchen Fun & Crafty Friday!

how to make rainbow bead patterns with white pipe cleaner clouds

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