April 18, 2013

Toddler Activity: Stringing Beads

We're having our entire downstairs painted this week, so I had to move all of my shop and craft supplies. I've been stuck upstairs, away from all my supplies, for the last few days. While I haven't been doing my usual crafting, I have found some time to work on my ABC Quilt project while cooped up. I'll share some of my progress soon.

While trying to gather up fun things for Mr. Baby to do upstairs this week, I realized that I have a bunch of toddler activities I've made for him that I never got around to sharing with you.

Back in February and March, I bought a bunch of kid crafting supplies on Amazon so I could throw together new activities whenever I felt the urge.  One of Mr. Baby's favorite activities is Stringing Beads. Stringing Beads will help your little one build fine motor control, and it can also be used to practice counting and color recognition (if you use colored beads).

Stringing Beads Activity


Colorful Wooden Beads - I picked mine up on a whim at Joann's.
Pipe Cleaner - I got mine on Amazon. You could also use a length of ribbon, a shoelace, cording, etc.

The Crazy Easy Instructions (even though they seem long):

  1. Find a bowl or small tray to put the beads in. I removed all the small beads and only used the largest size in the bag. The holes in the largest size make it easier for younger child to string the beads and they are less of a choking hazard.
  2. Prepare the item that the beads will be strung onto. For younger children, the rigidity of a pipe cleaner will make it easier to use than something less rigid, like a shoelace, ribbon, or cording.
    1. To prepare your pipe cleaner:
      1. Bend the tip of one end, about 1/4", down over itself. This will be the end used to string the beads. If you don't bend a little piece down, the metal on the end might poke your little one and will get stuck on the inside of the beads.
      2. For the other end of the pipe cleaner, I put a smaller bead about an inch from the end and then bent the pipe cleaner into a loop and then flat to the bottom of the bead to keep the strung beads from falling off.
    2. To prepare your shoelace, ribbon, or cording:
      1. If your shoelace or cording has a plastic covering on the end, you do not need to do anything to it. If there isn't a plastic covering on the end (or you are using ribbon), you should tape about an inch of the end so beads can easily be strung onto it. This will be the end used to string the beads.
      2. For the other end, and tie a knot. Make sure it is big enough to stop the beads from falling off the end. You could also tie a knot around a bead to hold it in place.
  3. Show your little one how to use the materials. I had to show Mr. Baby what to do (where the holes are on the beads, how to place the pipe cleaner into the bead's hole, how to move the beads down the length of the pipe cleaner, and how to remove the beads with the pipe cleaner is full). Then I helped him once by holding the pipe cleaner while he placed the beads onto it. After that, he was able to do it on his own
★ Make sure you supervise your child when they are playing with the beads. Even if you take out all the small beads, the large ones can still pose a choking hazard.
★ If you are using a length of shoelace, ribbon, or cording, keep it on the short side. If it is long enough to be tied around your child's neck, they will try to do it. I really don't understand why tying things around their necks is so interesting, but you don't want to take a chance that they will do it.


  1. great post - this also helps their fine motor skills and will keep them occupied for ages! cute!


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