Beading is a great project to do when you want to limit the mess and/or have a project that can go home with the students at the end of a single class period. We often do this as a first or last project of a session. Itʼs a favorite first project so that the kids can take something home from their very initial class and show it off. Oftentimes our projects need to dry or are multi-step artworks that donʼt come home for a few weeks.
In our programs, we like to figure out ways for our students to have unique opportunities, and in this case, it’s doing beading with 2 year olds. We make it age appropriate for this young age group by using pipe cleaners and really large beads. The stiff yet bendable pipe cleaners and large foam beads and buttons make it much easier for little hands to be successful at beading.
- Eye hand coordination
- Following directions
- Pipe cleaners
- Beads of different shapes and sizes, buttons, cut straws, pasta, bells – anything with holes
- Stickers for name tags
- Containers for the beads
- Twist one bead onto the end of pipe cleaners (figure 2 per child, depending on classtime) to keep beads on pipe cleaner.
- Write each studentʼs name onto a label.
- Place sorted beads into containers for children to access – we usually do one container per every two students.
Demonstrate for the students how they will be beading today. Show them how they will fit the bead over the pipe cleaner and push it down to the end. They can choose any colors or materials they like, and even make a pattern (repeating objects) if they wish. They should leave room at the end so it can be twisted together so the beads wonʼt fall off.
As the children are beading, we also offer tips to the parents. Although it’s often the parents’ inclination to hold the pipe cleaner for their children, we advise them not to. It’s actually harder to bead if someone else is holding the pipe cleaner: eye-hand coordination is thrown off if someone else’s hands are in the mix! We also advise the parents to encourage the children to hold the pipe cleaner near the top. Everyone’s always surprised to see how well their 2 year old does when they follow these suggestions.
When the children finish, twist the ends together so it makes a bracelet. Put their name tag sticker onto it if they choose not to wear it as a bracelet, or are moving onto other activities in the class.