Peg play: why it’s good for children

A tub of colourful plastic pegs can mean many hours of play and learning for your child. Peg play is a fun way for your child to:

  • learn colours and counting
  • improve fine motor skills
  • engage in experimental play.

Most young children are fascinated by the way clothes pegs open and close.

What you need for peg play with children

You probably already have all the things you need for peg play with your child:

  • plastic clothes pegs
  • small containers like plastic bowls or small buckets
  • something your child can clip pegs onto – a clothes rack can be good
  • small things for pegging, like socks or face washers.

How to do peg play with children

Here are some ideas for peg play for your young child:

  • Peg small items on a clothes rack. The pincer grip your child needs for this action is similar to the one he needs for learning to write.
  • Sort the pegs by colour into different containers. Encourage your child to name the colours. If she’s counting, she could count the numbers of pegs of each colour.
  • Experiment with sound. Try dropping the pegs into the bowls from different heights. Do they sound different? Do different bowls make different sounds?
  • Practise sharing. Talk to your child about how you might share the pegs. Maybe he can have the red and yellow ones, and you can have the blue and white ones. Maybe he can share them equally between two containers: ‘One for you, one for me’.
  • Be playful with the pegs. See how many pegs you can fit on your sleeve or on someone else’s. Peg them onto toys – Teddy might like a set of peg earrings. Can you make a chain of pegs joined together? Can you stack them?

Adapting peg play for younger children

Your younger child might have fun just handling the pegs and trying to get them to open and close, or putting them into a tub and tipping them out again. This sort of play is important because it helps your child learn about the world around her and how she can make things happen.