I love beading for school parties because its relatively inexpensive, easy to set up and takes up a great deal of time. Young kids love bracelets and necklaces. Boys and girls alike will enjoy this activity. The other weird upside to this is it is an excellent vision therapy technique. Optometrists have known for decades about the benefits of vision therapy but very few are truly trained in the techniques. Here is one who is great.
Unfortunately I have been lured into buying fancier bead kits that looked cool but were next to impossible for tiny fingers to string. When you only have a few parent helpers at each party this can make for a very frustrating afternoon. Little fingers and little eyes need bigger beads. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of kits out there ranging from “break the bank” to super cheap. Its hard to know from many of the pictures just what your getting. Let my mistakes and successes save you some time and money. Here are the best kits I have found.
http://www.orientaltrading.com/halloween-charm-bracelet-craft-kit-a2-48_9963.fltr?prodCatId=550182– I have personally used this twice and each time I was happy. Some of the beads were broken and a few times the correct amounts were not in the bags. Since I was dealing with younger kids though this was not a problem as they did not need all the beads anyway. I normally give each child a small bowl and place all of the pieces in the bowl. This keeps things tidy and gives the children a way to keep the beads from rolling away.
http://www.orientaltrading.com/beaded-turkey-necklace-craft-kit-a2-48_6209.fltr?prodCatId=550182– Awesome Thanksgiving craft. This one is easy to do and involves several different techniques. I would suggest opening each kit and burning the ends of the cord to make beading easier however. When I did this for my son’s kindergarten class it took about 30 minutes to do 30 cords.
http://www.orientaltrading.com/beaded-candy-cane-necklace-craft-kit-a2-48_6259.fltr?prodCatId=550182-This great necklace has larger beads and is non religious for Winter parties so you won’t offend anyone. The colors are not as vibrant as some beads but most young ones don’t care.
http://www.michaels.com/Perler-Beads%C2%AE-Assorted-Activity-Beads-Jar/kd2184,default,pd.html?cgid=products-kidsteachers-craftkits– If your creative you can design your own jewelry and buy in bulk which can really cut costs. Just remember to buy string or cord for the base of the jewelry and some kind of charm for the main decoration.
http://www.joann.com/glitter-bead-n-stretch-super-stretchy-cord-for-jewelry-making/zprd_10198950a/– This stretchy cord comes in several colors and is very pretty. You can cut costs by using a pretty cord like this and not needing as many beads. It is especially nive for a Valentine’s or Spring party and use hearts, candies and flowers for the charms.
http://www.joann.com/search/_jingles/?page=4– All kids like things that make noise. jingles make a great charm or even make the whole bracelet out of bells. They are a little more difficult to string though so you will need to help the kiddos with that part. These are more expensive than most beads so make sure you have a coupon and buy these off season.
Remember these important tips and you will have a great craft.
- How much time and money you have to spend on these crafts. If you have a very large class and not a great deal of help pick the easiest cheapest options.
- Read all the reader reviews, they are excellent resources and often will save you some heartache.
- Make notes about what worked and did not and why.
- Save your web searches into your favorites for use the next time.
- Stay calm and don’t sweat the small stuff. If the kit calls for alternating orange and purple beads but one kid wants all orange and one all purple who cares. The kids are happy and it all works out in the end.