Number figures made with pipe cleaners

Pipe Cleaner Numbers

Ages 4 and up

This month we are talking about math! Early childhood math is so important, and can be a great opportunity to build positive feelings about math for an entire lifetime! Math represents the “m” in STEAM( science, technology, engineering, art and math). The reason that we focus so much on STEAM at the museum is that by connecting the subjects, we are can increase learning. 

This activity connects an art project with math. It will give children a chance to connect an abstract shape with a concrete amount of objects, and should help them remember what the number shape r


epresents. After you have made your pipe cleaner art with your child, make sure to point out number shapes wherever you go! This can be a fun scavenger hunt and a chance to learn what each number represents. 



  • Pipe Cleaner
  • Beads  



  1. Shape your pipe cleaner into a number between 1-9. It might be helpful to have an adult print out or draw a giant number on a piece of paper first, and then the child can bend the pipe cleaner to match that number.
  2. Add beads to the shape. Put the same number of beads as the number shape you have made. 
  3. Make sure to count the numbers out loud as you string 
  4. them onto the pipe cleaner
  5. Move the beads around the number-talk with your child about no matter where the beads appear on the number they still represent the same amount. 


More Fun 

  • Another great way to remember how to count is learning a counting song. We love this song about counting to 10 that features dinosaurs