Bead Store Expedition
What to Pack
- No special equipment necessary...just the need to bead!
- Surf the web. Go here to find a bead store near you.
- Explore the store. When you arrive, talk about the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures you see. Can your child find the red beads, the spotted beads, the shiny silver balls, the wooden animal beads? (Caution her not to mix up beads from different bins.)
- Experiment with design. Pick up a plastic tray offered by many stores to help you create your design. What pattern would your child like to create? What other patterns can you make using the same beads?
- Count it out. Counting out beads introduces basic adding and subtracting skills. For example, your child's design might alternate three blue beads with one red bead. Ask, "What color comes next? How many do you need? Now how many blue beads in all? How many are there if I take two away?"
- Take a step back. Keep an eye on price because some beads are expensive! If you need to return beads to their bins, let your child do it and she'll get extra practice sorting and classifying.
- Investigate. Ask your young designer these questions:
- Can you find beads that are somehow alike? (Find all the pink beads, all the striped beads, all the heart-shaped beads.)
- How are two identically colored beads different (in size, shape, texture, pattern, and so on)?
- What are beads made of? (plastic, wood, glass, gemstones, metals)
- How many beads did we buy?
- Don't forget string. Elastic, leather strings and even long shoelaces are easiest for young children to work with. Make sure the string is long enough by testing it around your child's wrist or neck, allowing extra string for tying.
- Put it together. Back home, follow your child's lead: save stringing for another day if she's too tired. If she's excited about finishing her creation, start by arranging the beads on the counter in the desired pattern. Knot your string on one end and thread the beads. Finish with a knot in the other end. Then tie it on.
Bonus Explorer Activity Make your own beads with paper. Cut triangular shapes from a piece of wrapping paper, newspaper comics, stationary, or a catalogue. Roll each shape around a pencil, and glue closed. Let the glue dry, slide them off the pencil and then String together.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for you child at Doratheexplorer.com.
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