Beading with Kids
© Nidri 2003
Beading with kids is fun and creative and can be a powerful tool for teaching them the joy of giving simple handmade gifts. It is also another opening to teach our children about the world around them and the value of recycling.
Beading does not have to be about beautiful glass hand-blown beads purchased for a pretty price from a bead shop, although it can be if this is how you wish to do it. Beading can be about making use of nature's resources and recycling.
If you keep your eyes open, beads are not hard to come by. Op shops and garage sales are a good source for old necklaces and bracelets that can be cut and the beads reused. Just take care that the necklace has free moving beads as sometimes the beads are moulded to the string and cannot be reused. To find something special to hang from the bottom of your bead string, look out for earrings, charms, bells and natural objects - or make your own amulets and talismans. Nature provides an endless supply of beads, shells and pieces of coral often have ready made holes for stringing. You could be lucky enough to find a fairy stone. If you have a small drill, the skies are the limit with what you can utilise for beads. Timber rounds, seeds, shells, buttons, Chinese lucky coins, hand made paper beads, clay beads, metal washers painted with glitter pain - let your and your child's imagination go wild.
New beads can be obtained cheaply through discount stores both on strings and by cutting existing necklaces. Remember to keep all the clasps to re-use should you wish to string your own jewellery.
A simple way to introduce children to beading is to have them create their own bead strings for hanging -my 3yr old can handle this task with ease. Using a length of fishing wire, tie something unique to the bottom end of the string as a hanger and anchor. This could be a large bead or something special like a sea shell, bell, charm or amulet. Allow the child to string the beads until the desired length is reached, leave enough fishing wire at the top to tie a large loop for hanging and your bead string is done. How easy can it get?
If you wish to add a teaching element, you could discuss the origins of the beads, where the shells or seed pods came from. You can talk about any charms or amulets used. The colour themes and materials could be varied to suit the season.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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