Printing and threading

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Printing and threading


Exploring ways to use printing materials, tools and processes provides opportunities for children to engage in ways to be imaginative and creative, and become confident and involved learners.

Printing allows children to experiment, explore cause and effect, and experience satisfaction as they develop and express their ideas.

Getting started

What you need

  • paper of different sizes, colours and shapes

  • paint (can be bought or homemade. Please see the department’s Art and craft recipes resource sheet for advice on making paint)

  • equipment — rollers, sponges in containers to be printing pads, materials of varying shape, size and texture such as string, vegetable halves, leaves, coins

  • tools for exploring effects such as combs, paddle pop sticks, feathers, toothbrushes, fly swats

  • squeeze bottles or plastic containers to hold paint.

Store materials where your child can easily access them and put them away. Taking responsibility for materials is part of the learning process, and helps your child develop independence and respect for materials.

Managing printing activities

  • Choose your printing area so that your child can work without worrying too much about mess.

  • Minimise mess by using a plastic ‘drop sheet’ such as a tablecloth or small tarpaulin under the table.

  • Provide an apron, smock or old shirt to protect clothes.

  • Provide water and cloths for cleaning hands and materials such as a bucket of water, sponge and an old towel.

  • Involve your child in the process of setting up and cleaning up.

Questions to support your child’s learning

  • What might happen if we fold the paper over?

  • How could you make a print that looks fluffy like a cloud?

  • Do you think we will see the seeds of the apple when we print it onto the paper?

Children enjoy the opportunity to discover the visual effects they can create with materials such as paint and objects. Think back to when you were a child. Do you remember the sense of wonder when you first discovered how to make a butterfly print?


Manipulating small objects develops children’s fine-motor skills, visual tracking and hand-eye coordination. These are important skills to promote children’s hand and finger control and strength.

Getting started

What you need

  • string, cord, wool (tied to a small object at one end)

  • a bodkin or blunt needle

  • a hole punch

  • labelled storage containers

  • materials suitable to be threaded such as strips of paper, patty pans, cut up greeting cards, straws, lace fabric, dyed hollow pasta and beads.

Remember to store materials where children can easily access them and put them away.

Managing threading activities

  • Cut a piece of string, wool or cord long enough to make a necklace.

  • Tie the end to a threading object and add a bodkin or blunt needle to the other end.

  • Encourage your child to thread items onto the string.

  • The finished threading can be made into a necklace or can be hung on a hook.

Supporting your child’s learning

When threading, talk with your child about:

  • the size, colour and shape of materials used

  • the number of objects on their thread (counting)

  • making and continuing simple patterns – encourage your child to predict what would come next.

Threading is an enjoyable way for children to develop small-muscle control and strength in their fingers. As children become more capable in manipulating small objects, they also grow in confidence and independence. The small-muscle control developed when threading is important for learning to write.

For further information


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