23 February, 2011

Teaching tiny fingers on the cheap

It's important for toddlers to practice their fine motor skills as this helps them learn to use their fingers and improve their dexterity.  One of the recommended activities is to string up pasta with a string to form a necklace. However, I'm not exactly keen that the tot "plays with food" as I'm concerned that he would get confused with real food.

My solution?  Paper beads!  With my stack of magazines growing, I had lots of material.  It's a very, very simple project and you can even involve your child in making them.  After the beads dried, the tot has been having fun threading them onto the stick again.  He also uses them to count and treats it like "money"!

Paper beads
Colorful paper
Pen knife
Satay stick

  1. Using the ruler, cut the paper into long triangular strips.
  2. Apply a small amount of glue to the paper on the "wrong" side of the paper (the side that is to be hidden).
  3. Using a stick, roll the paper tightly around it, starting from the broader end.
  4. Allow glue to dry before removing from the stick.
  1. Heavier paper gives you larger beads, as with longer strips of paper.
  2. You can use "wet glue" or tape glue.  Tape glue may be less messy but trickier for toddlers - I don't let my tot near it as he ended up unwinding the entire reel once!
  3. Varying the width of the strip's base varies the length of the bead.
  4. You can actually spray the beads evenly with lacquer if you intend to wear these beads!
Have a look here for more ideas on how to use up those magazines!


  1. What a great craft for kids! I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight: http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  2. I love this idea! I am always looking for activities for my toddler :)

  3. What a GREAT idea. THanks for sharing. I think my boys will like this...