Do you have a preschooler or kindergarten aged child who loves beading? We have evidence of our little bead lover all over the house: beaded necklaces, bracelets, and bent beaded pipe cleaners can be found in almost every room! We’ve beaded noodles, cereal, plastic beads, small glass beads…every type and option there is has been strung on string of all sizes and types.
So, once you’ve done it all with an activity or means, what else is there to do?
Change it up a little bit!
I taped a string to the underside of our dining room table and put out some beads for Big Sister. She loved this! The slight variation in the beading activity gave her something to really concentrate on. She had to hold the string in a way that the beads wouldn’t slide down off of the string while she went to grab and thread additional beads.
This type of variation on a typical activity really makes the brain work. Have you ever tried writing with your non-dominant hand? Your pace of writing really slows as your brain tries to right and then compensate for the variation. In the young child, there are so many brain connections being made with novel tasks every day. Beading this string was a real brain work-out for her!
Managing the string with both hands allows the child to use both hands together in a coordinated manner. Bilateral coordination is an important skill children need for many tasks. While handwriting, they mush hold the paper with their non-dominant hand while writing with their dominant hand. Together, both arms must work together to move the paper while writing and erasing. Other examples of bilateral coordination in functional skills of the child is cutting with scissors, tying shoes, and zippering a coat.
Beading is such a wonderful tool for fine motor development. Holding the bead requires precise tip-to-tip grasp and ability to manipulate the beads within the hand. A small object like a bead can be transferred from the finger tips to the palm without use of the other hand, working on in-hand manipulation skills. When a bead is held in the fingertips, the arches of the hands are strengthened. If you see a child managing beads with a closed space between the thumb and index finger, they are compensating for weakness and attempting to stabilize their thumb againt their index finger. They may fumble with the beads and give up quickly into the activity as the small muscles of their hands become fatigued. This child most likely, will have sloppy handwriting and an inefficient pencil grasp when writing.
We had fun with our new variation to beading. Try it, and let us know how it goes for you!