Beads, beads, beads! Most Occupational Therapists and Early Childhood Educators agree, after working with children of all ages, that beading promotes children's development in more ways than meets the eye! Not only do children love working with beads, but here are some other areas where beads help with development.
Grasping: Various sizes of beads promote different kinds of grasps. Larger beads promote a grasp similar to holding a large primary pencil. Smaller beads encourage children to use their pincer grasp, strengthening the small muscles of their hands.
In-hand manipulation skills: Many parts of making a beaded project increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles. Picking a bead up, and then turning it around in one's hand until it is pinched between the thumb and finger, involves shift and rotation movements. All of these movements strengthen the hand and finger muscles, and will help lead to handwriting success later on!.
Visual perceptual skills: Visual discrimination, scanning, and visual memory―the child must be able to remember the beading pattern to determine the next bead they want to use. Visual discrimination assists them in selecting the bead they want. Finally, the child must scan many different beads before finding the desired bead.
Visual motor skills: Hand-eye coordination―threading beads onto a string requires their hands and eyes to work together. .
Cognitive skills: Planning―what style of necklace does the child want to make? Where is needed to complete this activity? What pattern will they choose? By answering these questions, the child develops his/her problem solving and planning skills.
Math skills: Math is not always about numbers. Math can be about patterns, colors, and shapes. How long will the necklace, keychain, or bracelet need to be? How many beads do I need to complete this project? Encouraging children to think through these math problems improves academic skills in this area.
Social Skills: Beading activities promote sharing and cooperation, as children choose beads and complete their projects in a group setting.
Overall developmental benefits of beading: Improved fine motor, visual perceptual, visual motor and cognitive skills. Improved dressing skills (especially buttons and zippers). Improved pencil grasp and pencil control. Improved visual perception and better planning often help a child to become more organized (e.g. Where did I put my favorite toy? Do I have everything I need to complete my homework?) And last but not least, beading can provide a sense of accomplishment in completing a project that offers freedom of self-expression and camaraderie with others. This sense of "Occupational Fulfillment" can contribute to improved self-esteem.
In other words, beading is just plain FUN, and FUN is good for kids!!
THREADING BEADS WITH PIPE CLEANERS, OR EVEN SPAGETTI!
Using a pipe cleaner to thread onto is a good idea for younger children, age 2 and upwards, as it is easier to hold and retains its shape during threading. The pipe cleaner can then be manipulated into any shape and twisted to secure them at the ends, after making alphabet letters, numbers, necklaces, or bracelets, amongst many other ideas!
Placing one end of the pipe cleaner into a ball of play dough or a block of polystyrene packaging increases the stability even more, and helps younger children maintain control as they add beads, one by one.
BEAD PATTERN ACTIVITY
Learn the beginnings of math with this fun and interactive activity for kids of all ages.
What you need
- sorting tray or paper plate for each player (a muffin tray works well)
- Skoolzy Jumbo Primary Lacing Bead set OR Jumbo Toddler Lacing and Stringing Bead set in various colours
- string or threading lace
Start by sorting the beads into colors.
Lay out patterns for your child to follow. For example: two yellow beads, two red beads, two yellow beads, what comes next? This will help with the early stages of counting and addition.
Start with a basic pattern and work your way to more challenging patterns when your child masters the easier patterns.
When your child has made patterns that she likes, start threading the beads onto string and tie for a necklace or a bracelet that your child can be proud of!
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- Tags: abacus, bead, beading, beads, counting, fine motor skill, Lacing & Stringing Bead, Lacing Beads, preschool academic skills, preschool fine motor skills, preschool social skills