This project originated with our creative Aunt Ranae. When she came to visit us last fall, she arrived with a whole stash of art supplies stowed in her suitcases. I had been looking for fine motor skill activities to help prepare for writing. It has since become one of our favorite activities.
On the first run we used leather rope. I simply knotted one end and then let hem string beads to their hearts' content. My younger child needed some help, but her brother was able to string beads on his own.
After my oldest was comfortable stringing beads on the rope, I began giving him kite string instead. This presents a little more dexterity challenge.
We also have begun sorting the beads before beginning the necklaces. I place a collection of plastic bowls on the table and we group all the beads of the same color into their respective places.
Then, each child is allowed to pick two colors for his or her own necklace. My two-year-old just strings these beads at random, but my three-year-old is ready to start making simple patterns. So far he has mastered the ABAB, and is now working on AABAAB.
The possibilities for this project are endless as the child develops the ability to create more and more complicated patterns.
Afterward, they enjoy wearing the necklaces long of enough for Daddy to see when he comes home. Then, I stow the materials away, ready to be used again in a couple of weeks.