Summer STEAM Activity For Kids - Beading Is For All Ages

Current Sale

Summer STEAM Activity For Kids - Beading Is For All Ages

Design by Evelyn (age 5) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

One of the great joys of my life is to be able to share my love of beading (and art in general) with my family. I have 2 girls (ages 4 and 5) and 1 boy (age 1 year). At about age 2.5 to 3, both girls started to bead. Recently, my niece got in on the action too. She will be 3 in August. Beading is great for pre-schoolers with lots of parental help. In this article, I will go over some of the things that you can teach kids through beading and offer some ideas for how you can keep your sweet babes busy this summer!

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) is an approach to learning using five, key access points for guiding students. Beading can touch on many of these areas in just one lesson!

Design by Hazel (age 4) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

When a child first starts beading at a young age, it is all about eye/hand coordination. Fitting the stringing product through a small hole takes concentration and is a lot of work. It is good to start with big beads so that they can get the hang of it. Let them explore any pattern of beads that they like even if it doesn't look good or make sense to you. You may even be surprised at how nice it turns out, regardless of pattern.

Design by Nova (age 4) - completely designed by herself, partially strung and crimped by auntie

After hand/eye coordination improves, you have a great opportunity to also ask questions about colors, size and quantity. "What color is this bead?" (point to a bead). "What shape is this bead?" (point to a bead). "How many blue beads do you have?" (point and count). 

Design by Evelyn (age 5) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

Further developments include discussions about asymmetry and symmetry. Asymmetrical designs will have an assortment of beads that do not match each other in size or shape (like Nova's bracelet above). Symmetrical designs will typically have a center and matching beads on either side. Early on, both girls created asymmetrical designs. But, by 4, both girls were starting to work on symmetrical designs

Design by Hazel (age 4) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

So far, I have done all of the work with the tools. We haven't reached a point where either of them have enough hand control to crimp (attach to wires together with a metal bead). I imagine that this will be the next stage in their jewelry making development. Then, they can learn other fun techniques like metal stamping - adorning metal with shapes, letters, numbers and patterns to create their own pendants, connectors, etc. 

Design by Evelyn (age 4 at the time) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

At 4 and 5, they string the beads onto Soft Flex beading wire in their choice of colors and in whatever pattern they like and I do the crimping. They seem to really love pendants and charms that are special - moons, owls, holiday themed components, seashells, mermaids, unicorns, etc. We have some adorable Teeny Tiny beads that are right up their alley. This is another great chance for them to use their imaginations. I've heard many stories about magic charms unlocking fairy worlds or stories about what the Halloween ghost, pumpkin and bat are going to do on Halloween night. Offer them paper and crayons and let them illustrate their stories based on their necklace. 

Click here to see our Teeny Tiny ceramic beads.

Design by Evelyn (age 5) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

So one thing you might be wondering is if you can help them put together their designs with very little knowledge of beading. YES! Here is what you need.

If stringing with beading wire, you'll need:

Soft Flex Beading Wire - .019

2x2mm crimp tubes

Crimping Pliers


Basic Clasps

Click here for easy to follow instructions to crimp and complete a design. 

Click here for a Bead Stringing Starter Kit!

Design by Hazel (age 4) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

To make it really easy, you can also use Stretch Magic. A stretch cord doesn't require anything more than a knot and a dab of glue!

Click here to see Stretch Magic Cord and Special T Glue.

Click here to see how to use Stretch Magic Cord.

Click here for a Kid's Beading Activity Kit that includes Stretch Magic Cord. 

Design by Evelyn (age 5) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

Beading is a great gift to give to kids of all ages. I am focused on 2-5 in this article because that is my experience, but older kids love to design with jewelry. I started at about the age of 15 through my local bead shop. I could spend hours there! Now there are fewer and fewer bead stores but SO MUCH great online content for free. You can find lots of tutorials on our website, our YouTube channel and our Facebook page. 

Click here for our YouTube Channel

Click here for our Facebook Page

Design by Hazel (age 4) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

I think our Kid's Activity Beading Kit, a Bead Stringing Starter Kit or a full sized or mini Design Kit of any kind are a great way to get started. We try to include everything that you need except possibly tools to make it as easy as possible. 

Click here to see all kits.

Pink Design by Evelyn (age 5) - completely designed by herself, crimped by mama

Beading has been around since the beginning of mankind. It is done all over the planet. Beads come from lots of different places too. So another fun teaching approach to consider is to talk with your kids about where and how beads are made. A Swarovski crystal design can easily turn into a Geography lesson about Austria or using African trade beads can turn into a lesson on Africa. 

One last thing to mention, beading can easily be transported and done with very little space. With basic supplies, you can bead at a park, camping, in the backyard or at the kitchen table. Beads and supplies are small and very transportable. 

So when you are thinking about a fun activity for the kids this summer, consider beading. If you have kids at home to keep busy, it may be the perfect fit for your little ones. If you are a grandma, an auntie, a godmother or godfather, you might consider buying a kit and shipping it directly to your favorite family with little ones to help parents keep their kids entertained at home. Give the gift of beading - a gift that will keep giving time and time again. 

Join our Facebook group – VIB. Stay in the know. Stay up to date. From our bead shows to our video shows and sales, you can stay in touch with us. The community is full of artistic and helpful beaders and crafty people. Inspire and be inspired. Share your pictures and get the beading bug from others!

Visit the Soft Flex Company YouTube Channel!

Subscribe To Email

Sara Oehler (pronounced Ay-ler) is a well-known jewelry designer living in the Bay Area. Sara is the author of several beading books, including her latest title, written with Kristen Fagan, Seed Bead Revolution. She has designed and written for numerous publications including: BeadStyle, Bead&Button, Bead Trends, Stringing, Jewelry in Fashion Trends, Simply Beads, The Flow and Today's Creative Home Arts. Currently, Sara is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company.Ask Sara Bead Expert