N and I did this simple but lovely craft together today during F’s nap time. Threading beads onto pipe cleaners is something we have done many times before (it is much easier for little fingers than fiddly thread, and the beads don;t fall off the other end). N loves being completely independent, not needing me to cut thread, tie a knot for her, thread a needle, etc.
In a simple twist (literally!) on this activity, we shaped the beaded pipecleaners into a heart shape, and hung them from a branch using ribbon. It made a beautiful, simple Valentine’s tree that we can add other crafts to.
As well as developing fine motor skills whilst threading, this activity has so much scope for development. Following patterns of beads is an excellent pre-maths activity, as is sorting the beads by shape and colour (sorting by two or more characteristics makes it more challenging). N found it easy to alternate colours (e.g. red, blue, red, blue…) but found more complicated patterns (red, red, green, green, blue…) too difficult to repeat without prompting, so i think this is a fun way we could develop that skill.
Younger children might also use the beads to identify colours, then shades of colour, and patterns (stripy, spotty, checked). We used a lot of adjectives and opposite words today (rough, smooth, curly, straight, fuzzy) and identified materials (wood, plastic, metal) – N even remembered that a magnet would only pick up the metal objects.
Beaded pipecleaners would also make excellent bracelets for small children to make, or star shaped decorations for Christmas. You could even make beaded letters spelling the child’s name.
Here is N concentrating hard on threading her beads.
Showing off the pattern she made:
And here is our tree:
I like its simplicity and the natural materials – I almost don’t want to add to it but I know we will, because where little children are concerned, more is definitely more!