Difficulty rating: ****
Time to prepare: ****
Cleaning up: ****
Activity time: one afternoon
Threading beads challenges your child’s fine motor skills and also encourages hand-eye coordination, while making the beads exercises the small muscles in her hands. Painting the beads also encourages fine motor skills as well as her imagination, sparking her creative development.
Stringing the beads into a necklace introduces her to mathematical concepts such as patterns and numbers, making this activity an all-round skills booster.
- Mix 20 tablespoons of flour and 4 tablespoons of salt together and then slowly add 300ml water and mix well ntil the mixture binds together to form a dough
- Knead this dough until it is smooth and leave it to rest for half an hour
- Ask your toddler to help you break off small pieces of dough and roll these into small beads. You could roll the dough into balls, ovals, tubes or any shape you want. An easy way to form the beads is to roll the dough into a ong sausage-like shape and then cut small rounds from it
- Stick a skewer stick through these to form a hole – mom, it’s best that you do this
- Bake the raw beads in the oven at 125°C until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped
- Give your toddler some water-based paint, glitter, glue and a paintbrush with which to decorate her beads. Put some newspaper down around your tot to catch any mess
- Wind a piece of cellotape around the top of a piece of wool to make it easy for your child to thread it through the beads. Once she’s finished stringing the beads tie the ends together to make a pretty necklace.
- Safety first! Remember to watch over your child carefully if she’s cutting the dough into beads herself. Give her a blunt-edged knife to use. If she’s too young to do this cut the beads yourself.
- If you don’t have the time to form and bake the beads you can use hollow pasta shapes instead. Give a few to your tot to paint and then string these into a necklace once they’re dry.
Source: Sweet Pea’s Garden; Special things to make and do published by Penguin books.