Beads have been a staple craft item in our household for a couple of years now. My eldest son is now 3 1/2 years old and still becomes excited when I reach for our jar of beads from our arts and crafts cabinet. Looking for some fun bead ideas to do with your toddler or preschooler? Try one or more of the following:
Beads allow for a wonderful means of working on patterns. With toddlers you can start easy by placing one red bead on the table you’re sitting at, for example, then placing a bead of a different color next to it. Let’s say it’s blue. Then red, then blue. Show your toddler what you have done, repeating the pattern to them “red, blue…red, blue.” Then ask them what comes next and see if they can answer correctly. As your child ages, their abilities increase as well. My son loves patterns. We’ll do simple two-color patterns, and we’ll do more difficult patterns such as a red bead, blue bead, yellow bead, and a green bead. Then perhaps we’ll do two red followed by one blue. And we’ll do shapes as well. A circle bead followed by a star followed by a bead in the shape of a square. You can make this pattern even more difficult for your preschooler by using a red circle, a blue star, and a green square and your preschooler will have to understand that the next bead should not only be a circle, but should be red in color.
When people think of children playing with beads, stringing them is often what comes to mind. A shoelace is the perfect tool for a preschooler to string beads on as their fine motor skills are more developed than a toddlers. A pipe cleaner tends to work extremely well for a toddler. You can find these at any arts and crafts store. Pipe cleaners are stiff, and therefor, much easier for a toddler’s little fingers to manipulate. When stringing, your toddler or preschooler can make a bracelet or a necklace to wear or just simply string for the fun of it.
Arts and Crafts
Beads can also be great for use with your toddler or preschooler’s arts and crafts time. Small circles can be glued for eyes on a person or buttons on a coat or a snowman craft, for example.
Beads are also perfect practice for sorting, counting, and working on colors and shapes with your toddler or preschooler. You can ask them to sort the beads by color or by shape, placing them into various piles. You can then count the number of beads you have in each pile (you may want to limit this number to about 5 for toddlers and 10 to 20 for preschoolers).
Beads are fairy inexpensive and there are so many wonderful ways they can be played with by toddlers and preschoolers.