Learning to lace beads is a great skill for fine motor development, hand-eye coordination, cognitive skills (sorting, patterning), and is really just an all around good skill to practice! Here is our progression of stringing activities for one year olds and beyond.
This set shown above is the Alex Toys Wooden String A Farm (see below for Amazon link). With a strong wooden "needle" and a silo on the end of the rope, beads slip on simply and don't come off until your child wants them to. (Alex Toys also sells a set with vehicles and clothing.) This set is perfect for toddlers who are just learning to string beads.
Moving on to sorting, patterning, and more advanced stringing, we like the Primary Lacing Beads by Melissa & Doug. (Link also below) for preschoolers. These beads are more versatile than the above set and come with a string in each color. We found ours in a complete set at a thrift store- excellent find! One thing that we have learned is that stringing beads is frustrating when the child picks up the string to check their work and everything falls off. We use a clothespin on the end of each string to prevent this from happening.
As a more advanced activity for older preschoolers and school aged students, we have enjoyed making our own beads.
For even more extra practice, there are a number of other items that can be strung such as food (cereal, noodles), buttons, and other seasonal items. One thing I always see in the fall is pumpkin seed necklace making. The smaller the item the more stringing will challenge a child's fine motor skills. Creating a hole with a needle is more challenging than stringing something that already has an opening. Think about your child's skill level and choose an appropriate material from there. Some frustration is ok, but too much is quite discouraging!
Although I cannot say I always have a stringing activity available, I do like to make sure to regularly revisit for extra practice. Just a few weeks ago, we all practiced stringing when we made Harvest Rosaries.
Have you done any interest stringing activities lately?
Leave me a comment or a link- Logan & I would love to see!
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