Beading for Kids

Getty/Daniel Birnbaum

My childhood memories of stringing beads are really not all that pleasant. It was the kind of thing we might do when there was absolutely nothing else to do. In hindsight, I can see that the problem with this activity was the lack of purpose and the unsatisfying end product. We just found some cheap plastic beads and put them on a string for no other reason than there was nothing better to do. But beading for kids has a lot more potential than I ever realized as a kid. And as a parent, nowadays...MORE there are a lot more art kits and supplies to make this easier on you as well. Letting kids choose their own project can significantly increase their interest in beading.

A few things to note about beading: It takes a certain level of fine motor skills for a child to string beads, so be sure to look carefully at the recommended ages on art kits. Kids who are frustrated by their inability to get the beads on the string will not stick with it long. Also if you have a toddler who may put beads in his or her mouth, then an adult should supervise older children using beads to be sure everything is put away correctly. And of course, a downside to beading as an activity to keep kids busy while you work is that it will mostly likely only interest girls. (Though, don't totally count out boys with older sisters; they might try it. ) But if you have a bored girl on your hands, read on!

  • 01 of 06

    Beading for Kids

    Kids string beads

    Below are some resources for beading for kids. And while it’s a good idea to browse these to get some ideas, work-at-home moms who need kids to be work on projects independently may find that art kits

    Rather have a kit to get you started? Scroll down to see some beading kits for kids.

    More: 4 Brain Building Activities for Kids That Are Fun Too!

  • 02 of 06

    Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 8+

    These bead kits from Bead Bazaar are a nice place to start because they will yield some satisfying projects even for the beginner. The sets are color coordinated with a variety of shapes and types of beads, including wood, glass and ceramic. They come with some instructions and ideas.

  • 03 of 06

    Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 2+

    If you have a toddler or preschooler as well as older children, these can be a great addition to your beading collection, so the kids can work together. For ages 2 and up, these are large enough that a young child will have the dexterity to string them (maybe with some help from an older sib to start). And the upside to them being shaped as letters is not only might a little learning happen, but boys are far likely to play with them than the lacing beads...MORE shaped like flowers and butterflies.

  • 04 of 06

    Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 8+

    If your child has the basics of stringing beads down, why not try a loom bead weaver? This will allow for more complex designs. This kit offers iridescent beads, colorful elastic cord, a loom, work station tray, self-threading beading needle, thread, scissors and glue as well as both beginner and advance.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+

    Though many friendship bracelets don't involve beads at all, I've included it on the list because it is similar. I just love any potentially messy toy that comes in a “travel kit.” Most of the time the scaled-back version is all you need, and travel kits are meant to keep things contained. And this friendship bracelet maker is no exception. The 20 pre-cut embroidery threads (in 10 colors) stow nicely in a drawer. I am a little skeptical about the...MORE recommended age of 6. I think many 6-year-olds would find friendship bracelets too difficult.

  • 06 of 06

    Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 9+

    This is is an interesting idea--beads made from paper. Once you learn how to make them, you won't run out of beads. This spiral-bound book comes with 200 pre-cut strips of paper in 22 colors and patterns and a custom tool for winding them into beads. A bottle of durable glaze gives each bead a polished finish, and the book also include elastic cord and a selection of glass accent beads.