Play with Beads: Five Fun Activities with Beads

Parents need fun indoor projects to keep little ones busy when the weather fails to cooperate!

Beading is a preschool activity that builds your child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Working with beads also provides a play-based opportunity to identify patterns, colors, shapes, and sizes and develops counting and numerical skills.

Water Beads

Water beads are tactile and tons of fun. Using them with a light table highlights the color. Then, add cups, funnels, and silicone cupcake liners to sort by color!

Water beads are tiny water-retaining polymers, just like contact lenses. You can find them among the floral products in your favorite craft store. Unfortunately, water beads are unsuitable for toddlers under three as they present a choking hazard. But they are an excellent learning tool for preschoolers and older children.

Bead Math

If your little one loves the KneeBouncer Penguin Numbrrrs game, extend the counting with this simple and colorful activity from Quirky Momma. It helps reinforce counting and number recognition with beads and pipe cleaners.

Sewing Hearts

What a fun activity to follow up Valentine’s Day! And chances are you still have some leftover pink and red beads/glitter/ribbon from your Valentine’s making around the house. Check out this gem on the Preschool Play blog.

Bead Wall Art

The Crafty Crow has a great idea for all the loose beads and small objects you’re unsure what to do with! So gather them together, head to the craft store, purchase some wood shapes or letters, and let your child decorate them. Wood glue and a paintbrush are easy ways to apply the glue!

Bead Shaker Bottle

Colors and noise are fun ways to play with beads! This activity gets kids dancing and moving, so be sure to put on some good tunes with this one! A great project from Scrumdilly-do!

Updated April 26, 2023, by L. Elizabeth Forry

written by

L. Elizabeth Forry 

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She earned a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of North Dakota and has a Bachelor of Arts in English and one in Music from Lebanon Valley College. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, gender development. She has written curriculum for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside of Annapolis, Maryland.

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