Saturday, January 25, 2014

Developmental benefits of beading and a trip to Mhai O Mhai beads in Barrie Ontario

Yesterday Sierra and I joined a homeschool group for an afternoon of beading fun at Mhai O Mhai Beads in Barrie, Ontario. Everyone was so busy creating and left abruptly afterwards that we didn't have a chance to talk with too many people but we had a great time creating and enjoying our "mommy & me" time.

The class room is upstairs overlooking the ground floor store. There were about 12 children and 8 adults present (not all the adults created but some did) and there was plenty of room for us all.
One of the two tables in the class area.
 When we arrived we had to choose what we wanted to make.Our choices were bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks and tiaras.
Sample table for ideas. Sierra loved this bracelet
she is admiring in the photo and we bought the
materials to make one at home
 Each table had a large selection of beads laid out and individual mats to help prevent your beads from bouncing or rolling off the table.
 If what you see on the tables isn't enough selection, there were two walls full of beads to choose from; a good variety of sizes, colours, shapes and bead types.

Sierra chose to make a tiara so I made one as well to take home for Aayla. The hardest part of making our tiaras was choosing which beads to use. The selection was amazing. Sierra chose a variety of blues for her tiara and I used pinks and purples for Aaylas.
Sierra was very thoughtful with the placement of each bead. You can see the concentration all over her face.
Almost done.

 Sierra models her finished tiara.
 And when she was finished she carefully put back all the beads she didn't use to help clean up.
Did you know that beading is not only a fun and relaxing activity, but it also provides many developmental benefits for children? Beading promotes many skills depending on the age and abilities of your child(ren) such as:

-hand eye coordination
-fine motor skills when grasping and manipulating beads
-visual discrimination
-cognitive skills with planning of beaded patterns for shapes or colours

Upon finishing a beading project, children can also feel a sense of accomplishment when allowed the freedom to create and express themselves through their choices in colours and patterns.

See THIS article  by Kimberly Voaden, OT Reg. (Ont) where she describes the developmental benefits in more detail. She also discusses ways to adapt beading activities to provide beading opportunities for children with special needs (these ideas  will benefit younger children as well so everyone can join in the creative, development process of beading).

Want to give beading a try but don't know where to start...

12 activities using beads to promote early learning
Click here for LINK
 A simple activity for younger children is to string beads onto pipe cleaners (they are more rigid and easier to manipulate). These can be made into bracelets or can be shaped into letters to practice sounds and letter recognition.
Directions HERE
Older children will love making these simple beaded and braided bracelets.
Directions HERE
This site has many patterns to make pony bead animals
Directions HERE

 Remember making these as a kid? Friendship bracelets with safety pins.
Directions HERE
Feeling brave? With Valentines day fast approaching I thought these would be fun gifts to make. The link takes you to Etsy to purchase a PDF tutorial.
Click here to buy PDF

Are you inspired to bead now? Do you have a favourite beading activity for children? I'd love for you to share it with us.

(I have not been compensated in anyway for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own)

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