Pipe Cleaner & Bead Process Art Sculpture for Kids


This activity was inspired by an art project in the book, Global Art, by MaryAnn Kohl and Jean Potter.

I received this book as part of the SchoolHouse Review Crew.

Please check out my review post, but  I'll just say that it's a resource that I will keep handy on our bookshelves!

We didn't do it exactly as the book suggested; we swapped a few materials to make it a bit more tot-friendly.

But it was a simple, open-ended activity that kept them busy for 30ish minutes!!

The kiddos both enjoyed making their mobile, although Little Miss destroyed hers later in the evening. ..

sculpture art for kids

The book suggested we use telephone wire, which would have created the more 'moving art' that Calder created, but I have forgotten for the up-teenth time to grab craft wire when out and about and since I wanted to do this activity now, we opted for the next best thing-- pipe cleaners.

Process Art Sculpture

Pipe cleaner process art sculpture

While they built their mobile using a foam block, pony beads, and pipe cleaners, I read a book called, "Sandy's Circus," which shared the story behind the rise of artist, Alexander Calder.

He is the founder/ creator of  'moving art,' also known as a mobile.

His fascination with making things from scraps and odds n' ends, led him to wire sculpting.

One day he started sculpting a lion, and soon enough he had a whole circus complete with a flying trapeze!

You can see this wire circus at the Whitney Museum in New York City.

fine motor art activity for kids


While what we created was no Alexander Calder, both of my kiddos created a masterpiece using pipe cleaners and beads in this fun Calder-Inspired Mobile Activity.

Instead of creating a free form mobile, we used pipe cleaners to create a sculpture.

Encourage your kiddos to bend and twist the pipe cleaners in all sorts of directions and add beads, too!

pipe cleaner sculpture for kids

Have fun creating!!