Even big kids can enjoy sensory play. Children of all ages love digging their hands into a tray full of beads. They adore the feeling of the beads, and the sounds they make rattling together. They like the imaginative possibilities beads hold.
I didn’t always know this.
My twins got
an amazing bucket of beautiful wooden beads for their 4th birthday. It was similar to this Big Bead Box, except it also had letter beads. For a long time, we just used them for stringing necklaces and bracelets.
I didn’t want the beads to spill and make a mess, so I kept them on a high shelf.
Yes, my kids really are growing. The other day they took the beads down from the high shelf, and started playing with them.
Beads for Sensory Play
Only, they weren’t stringing the beads. They were dividing them into categories, pouring them into baskets, and carrying them around. Their enthusiasm inspired me to share the idea
of using beads for sensory play.
I pulled out a basket, lined it with a leftover
scrap of fleece fabric, then dumped all the beads in. Then, to make it more
interesting, we added an ice cube tray and a small bowl for sorting into.
hardly wait for me to finish taking pictures of the setup. They wanted to put
their hands in and play!
I had been thinking of this as sensory play for preschoolers.
Yet, once I let my 5-8 year olds loose, they entertained themselves for a surprisingly
how a new presentation of an old toy will spark kids’ imagination.
kiddos have their fill of free play, consider these activities:
own using beads as characters.
how many beads there are. Then count them.
- Sort beads
by color, shape, and texture.
beads into a repeating pattern.
- Use them to
add and subtract, and even group them to demonstrate multiplication and
play with beads of this size is great fine motor practice. Here are a few more
beads – I like to use embroidery thread and a dull needle. I thread the needle,
then secure it with an overhand knot. On the other end, I tie on the first bead
to make a “stopper” for the other beads.
- Line beads
up in shapes – draw simple shapes, or even short words, for kids to line with
- Stack up as many square shaped beads as
possible before they topple.
Use Your Imagination
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