What to do with this activity?
Threading large wooden beads onto a shoelace, a piece of string, or a pipe cleaner is fun for 3 and 4 year olds. As a play activity it might also improve:
- Grasping and hand movement skills - that will help develop hand and finger muscles used to hold and control pencils and crayons.
- Hand-eye co-ordination - accuracy will improve as they try to push the shoelace through the hole.
- Visual and pre-maths skills - get them to try to form a regular pattern with the beads. For instance, blue, red, green, then blue, red, green again.
- Counting skills - count the number of blue beads or red beads.
If you don't have wooden beads, use large pasta tubes (like macaroni). Have a look at this threading fun from Laughing Kids Learn.
Make sure always to supervise this activity as small items and shoelaces can go places they shouldn't.
One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond. "Pretend play" is important for developing your child's language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.
Spending time playing with your child is a great way of helping them learn. Games like "Simon says" and "One, two, three red lights" are great fun. There are lots of activities you can do like playing card games or board games when you can have a quiet time together. Your child can learn the rules by watching a dry run first. Then you can play for real. An important thing to learn is that you don't always win. It can be good for young children to win, to give them confidence but learning to lose is important too. There will be many times in life when you don't win and learning to cope with that is a good life skill you can teach your child too.
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