This is a great simple craft project for toddlers and little kids to do at home. It was always a huge hit in the three to six Montessori classroom I used to work in. Threading beads is excellent for developing fine motor skills and concentration. But it's also just lots of fun and may give you a moment of peace on a rainy day.
One of the main focuses of Montessori practical life is developing hand strength, especially the pincer grip, to get the little fingers ready to hold pencils and this activity is perfect for this.
As with all activities for young children this is about process, not outcome. A child can spend twenty minutes carefully threading the beads onto the wool only to drop the finished necklace on the floor or throw it in the bin. Others will thread one or two beads on, declare they are finished then wear it with pride for a week. Whatever way the kids decide to do is fine. Just make sure they are involved in both the preparation and clean up, and that it is their work. You can make your own necklace if you want (probably a good idea as kids learn from watching) but keep your hands off their's.
What you need
- A blunt wool needle, I got one from K-mart for $1
- Some drinking straws
- Cut up the straws into short 'beads'.
- Thread the needle with about a 60cm of wool.
- Put the first 'bead' on, pull it to the end of the wool and tie it on to create a stopper.
- Set up the child in a comfortable are for their size and let them go for it.
- Only help if they ask for it.
In a Montessori classroom this activity would be set up on a shelf just like the top picture, it is a more regulated environment than the home and there are staff around the whole time. My little one isn't yet two and I really don't want to be picking up straw beads constantly so I store the beads on the tray in a Tupperware box that she needs my help to open.