I've mentioned fine motor skills before; they are small movements made by the smaller muscles in our bodies (like those you find in fingers and toes for example.) Helping kids to develop fine motor skills are important because they need to be able to use these muscles for important everyday activities (like zipping a coat) and academic skills (like writing with a pencil or cutting out a picture.)
Beading is a great way to work on developing fine motor skills, as it's using repetitive small muscles, it's fun, and you create a finished product (which kids always love.) But you don't always have to use beads, there's plenty of household objects you can use.
Switching up the object adds variety and interest for kids, but also means they're learning how to hold onto different types of objects. Here are 5 of our favorite household objects you can use below.
Pretty much any kind of pasta or noodle with a hole will work. You can stick to traditional macaroni or ziti, often used in kids' projects, or get a little more varied with spirals and wheels.
NutsThere are lots of different sizes and weights of nuts, which are easy to string and have a great weight as a finished necklace.
We've been experimenting with using buttons in different ways to create necklaces. You can either string just through one hole or try looping through multiple holes.
CerealAny kind of "O" cereal works. Our kids have been enjoying this naturally flavored fruit kind for a while now. Using cereal as a beading material also means you're creating an edible necklace or bracelet. Big Brother particularly gets a kick out of this and asks for it when he's a little bored.
Straws are cheap and can come in a variety of colors, so there's a lot of options for patterning. You can also have kids cut the straws themselves, which gives scissor skill practice and more fine more development.
Our Finished Pieces
There's a lot of materials you can use to create you're finished pieces. A while ago Big Brother picked out some sparkly, brightly colored elastic string at the craft store. But we also use yarn, clean shoelaces, and pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners are especially great for little hands new to beading, as they stay straight.
We'd love to hear from you, what other household materials can you think of for beading? Is there something you already enjoy using with kids?