Looking for a cost-effective activity that will keep Baby busy for a while? Head to the store for string and something to string on it! Stringing beads takes coordination, dexterity, and patience, but beads themselves are often small enough to be choking hazards for curious toddlers. Any object with a hole through it can function as a bead for this type of activity, though, from plastic bangles to the rings that hold shower curtains onto the bar, can be a great way for Baby to practice his dexterity. For more bead-shaped objects that won’t be a choking hazard, showing him how to string Cheerios or other O-shaped cereal can be great for some skill-building playing with his food. More than just a way of building skills, though, stringing together “jewelry” is often a hit with toddlers who are developing their very own sense of style.
To start, offer Baby a thick, manageable piece of string, or even a pipe-cleaner, which can be a great way to get started, and show him how to add the first makeshift-bead, before offering him the rest of them to get started.
As Baby grasps the beads, he is honing his fine motor skills, and continues to as he strings whatever he is using as beads onto the cord. Visual motor skills come into play here as well, as he uses hand-eye coordination to put the pieces together. Both of these skills are helpful for tasks to come later, like buttoning, clasping, and zipping up clothing.
As Baby graduates to next-level bead-stringing, you can use beading as a learning tool for counting how many beads he uses, and identifying the color of each bead. This activity can become a creative outlet, too, and can build Baby’s self-esteem as he gets better and better.