My first exposure to beading was during one of our trips to our native village when I was a little girl. There, I saw my cousins making 3D animal shapes and pretty purses with beads and transparent wire. I learnt how to make key chains and small purses that summer.
Hobbies like beading and basket weaving are not as popular as they used to be in Indian villages 2 decades ago. Remember those plastic wire baskets (koodai) that were used extensively before the advent of plastic bags? May be they knew the benefits of these hobbies. May be they did not.
Beneficial or not, beading is fun. A lot of fun.
Here are some of the benefits of teaching little children to bead.
Benefits of beading
Math and counting skills – To follow a pattern, children have to count the number of beads that are required.
Visual discrimination – If more than one variety of beads are used in a pattern, children have to choose the one that the pattern requires.
Picking a bead requires hand eye coordination.
The child has to first pick up and then grasp the bead with one hand and grasp the string in the other hand (usually the dominant hand). Once the bead has been grasped, the hand has to be turned so that the bead is in position so that the child can clearly see the hole. All these actions fine tune the child’s fine motor skills.
Based on the size of the bead, the child has to decided whether she has to use 2 fingers or 3 fingers to pick it up. This helps them grasp pencils and crayons.
Beading improves concentration and children learn to focus. This is good for children who have trouble focusing on a task and staying the course till it is completed.
If a child decides to be creative and make her own pattern, the effort that goes into planning and implementing this plan, helps her develop problem solving skills.
The sense of accomplishment that follows is a reward in itself.
Beading is one of those activities where if the child finds out that she does not like what she made, she can take it apart and reuse the beads. An opportunity to self correct and redo.
My daughter was not very fond of beading initially. My little perfectionist got frustrated when beads slid out of the string. Recently she has started showing interest. When she was a baby, her aunt had made a bracelet for her. I had saved the beads after the string broke. Now my daughter is busy lacing the beads to make the bracelet for herself.
The bracelet is not ready yet. She has been trying various patterns for the past one hour. I am yet to see the finished bracelet. But, from the smiles, I am going to assume that she is having fun. 🙂
How about arranging a beading party for little kids? An opportunity for parallel play where each child gets to be creative while working side by side.
Do check out the various beading tutorials that I have posted in this website. Try those projects with your kids and share pictures with me and I will add your child’s name and picture of the bead project.