Paper beads are a quick and easy project that you can get your kids started on, then walk away for a while. It’s great for fine motor skills, and even better for a quiet time activity that will keep them busy without making a great deal of noise and mess.
Start with a several pieces of paper cut into triangular strips. Solid color paper works very, very well; paper with small designs is acceptable; paper with big designs probably won’t come out right. Abstract designs will do better than defined ones, since only a small portion of the design will be visible in the finished product.
After you’ve cut out your strips, roll them around a pencil, dowel, etc, starting with the large end and working your way down to the small end. Secure the end of the bead with a dot of glue, slide it off of your pencil, and you’re done!
This is a quick, easy project that will give the kids plenty of other opportunities for creativity. They can string them onto necklaces or bracelets; use them as stringing beads for a younger sibling; or simply add them to another art design.
This is not a toddler project (though they will probably enjoy the end result). It could be adapted to use with younger children as long as there is plenty of parental participation and guidance, but it might be a better craft to save for when they get a little bit older.
The big kid verdict: It filled more than an hour for both the boy-child and the girl-child, and both seemed to enjoy it. Obviously, it’s more of a girly project than a boy project; boys may have more trouble finding something to do with their finished project.
The mom verdict: this one is worth keeping around! It’s cheap, easy, and stilled the bickering for at least a few minutes—sounds like a win!