Finding indoor ways to keep kids busy in the heat of summer can be a challenge, especially as parents begin to run out of new and clever ideas of things to do. One inexpensive way to engage your children inside the house is with some simple bead activities. Perler beads offer a variety of creative crafting possibilities, and water beads provide young and old alike with a unique sensory experience. Both types of beads can be found at any local craft store, and both deliver so much fun!
Perler Beads - Perler beads are tiny, heat-activated plastic beads that come in an assortment of vibrant colors. A Perler bead kit typically includes a large amount of beads, several plastic pegboards in different shapes, and an ironing sheet. To use them, children place the beads, one by one, onto the pegboards to form a variety of patterns, and then fuse them together into a single structure using an iron. Parents might want to aid small children in the ironing step, which involves simply placing the ironing sheet on top of the pegboard, pressing down with the hot iron for 15-20 seconds, flipping the fused bead shape over, replacing the ironing sheet on top of the opposite side, and repeating the heating process. That’s it! Kids will be extremely proud of their creations, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating designs, characters, and patterns.
Water Beads - Created for use in flower arrangements to add color, water, shine, and texture, these beads absorb over 100 times their weight in water to form glass-like pearls that slowly release water back into the jar. Although the beads are not made specifically for child’s play, they are non-toxic and environmentally safe. (Adult supervision is always recommended, as young children should never eat the beads.) Kids love them because they are squishy, slippery, and playing with them guarantees an addictive sensory experience. When added to water, the beads grow in size slowly, which also provides a practical lesson in patience. Ways to use water beads include adding them to about a half inch of water in a clear plastic tray or storage container, using them in place of water in a typical children’s water table, or placing them in a large bucket and letting your kids scoop, sift, and pour them with small cups, sand shovels and spoons. As with the Perler beads, the possibilities are endless!