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Developmental Benefits of Beading for Children

 Fine Motor Skills:

Grasping: Various sizes and shapes of beads encourage different grasps.  Larger beads often promote the "3-jaw chuck" grasp, similar to holding a large pencil or marker.  Smaller beads encourage children to use their pincer grasp, thus strengthening the small muscles of their hands.

 

In-hand Manipulation Skills: Many components of making a beaded craft increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles.  For example, picking a bead up from the beading tray, and then manipulating it in one's hand until it is pinched between your thumb and finger, involves translation, shift and rotation movements of the bead within the hand.

 

Visual Perceptual Skills:

Visual Discrimination, Scanning, Visual Memory: The child must be able to remember the beading pattern to determine the bead they want.  Visual discrimination assists them in selecting the bead that fits their mental image of the desired bead.  Finally, the child must scan across many different beads before finding the desired bead.

 

Visual Motor Skills:

Hand-Eye Coordination: Threading beads onto a string involves bilateral coordination of the child's hands, and requires their eyes and hands to work together.

 

Cognitive Skills:

Planning and Problem-Solving: What style of necklace does the child want to make? What pattern will they choose? Where are all the needed components to complete this beading activity?  By answering these questions, the child develops his/her planning and problem-solving skills.

 

Math Skills: How long will my necklace, bracelet, or earrings need to be?  How many beads do I need to complete the project? How can I create and maintain this beading pattern?  Encouraging children to think through these functional math problems is a motivating way to improve academic skills in this area.