This post was contributed by Mary Catherine of Fun-A-Day!
Make Early Learning Fun!
I’m thrilled that Mary Catherine of Fun-A-Day will be sharing two early learning activities with us each month. Judging by her blog highlighting all of the learning fun she does with her kids and her preschool class, I think we’re in for some great ideas. Let’s see what she has in store today…
Ideas for Early Learning with Beads
One of the best things about teaching young children is that you can use so many different materials to do so! My son and my preschool students have really been into exploring beads the past few months, so I thought I’d share various ways to incorporate early learning into bead play.
12 Ways Beads Promote Early Learning
- Sorting – Children can sort beads by color, shape, size, and type of bead. To extend this concept, they can be encouraged to create their own sorting categories.
- Pattern Making – Beads are great to use for learning about patterns! Kids can copy patterns, extend patterns, and even build their own patterns using any kind of beads you have on hand.
- Counting – Counting, comparing quantities, and associating amounts with numerals are all easily done with beads.
- Exploring Colors & Shapes – While “just playing” with beads, children are able to enhance their color and shape knowledge.
- Exploring the Senses – Beads placed in a sensory table with cups, spoons, and funnels can help children explore the concepts of measurement, volume, and weight. This is also a great way for them to use their senses of sight, hearing, and touch.
- Exploring Simple Science Concepts – Placing beads in a sealed container allows little ones to explore small items safely. For older children, add beads to liquids for further exploration of science concepts.
- Exploring Textures – When added to other sensory materials (like play dough or water), beads give children different textures to touch.
- Letter Learning – Using letter beads, children can learn more about letter names and sounds.
- Name Practice – Letter beads let them practice making their names, as well as names of friends and family.
- Beginning Phonics – Children can use letter beads to make words. They can also explore how to make new words from words they already know (i.e. if you take the ‘b’ off of ‘bed’ and replace it with an ‘r’ you make the new word ‘red’).
- Story-Telling – Using beads and pipe cleaners, children can make story bracelets (about both familiar and new stories). This helps them practice sequencing, comprehension skills, and retelling.
- Fine Motor Skill Practice – Using beads helps children develop fine motor skills, which is very important for writing.
This list illustrates just some of the ways you can use bead play to teach kiddos many different concepts. How have you used beads recently?
Mary Catherine is mama to a budding engineer whose favorite question is “why?” She is a pre-k teacher with a background in teaching kindergarten and a passion for early literacy. Mary Catherine loves lazy days with her son, messy art projects, science fiction books, and dark chocolate. You can find her blogging at Fun-A-Day! Come connect with Mary Catherine on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
I love the use of simple materials to promote play and early learning. I think I might dig out our bead collection for Priscilla today. Thanks for the inspiration, Mary Catherine!