Small, Medium, Large: Adapting classic play activities for every ability…
Beading & Threading
This is a simple, adaptable play activity that can be made just right for any child.
Beginner: Think big! Offer your child large wooden or plastic beads and a sturdy item to place them on. You can try kebab skewers, straws, or even pencils. If holding the base while putting the beads on is too hard, try fixing the base to a tabletop using clay or playdough to keep it stable. Or you can hold the base while your child threads the beads.
Next up: For older children, you can offer smaller beads or Cheerios with pipe cleaners to thread them on.
Last of all: Once your child is using their hands together with larger items, try beads in fun shapes with string. If using yarn or string wrapping a piece of tape around the end makes it easier to thread through the holes in the beads and reduces frustration.
Beading is also a great way to start learning about patterns – try asking your child to alternate colours or make their own repeating pattern. For a fun twist – cut up
two pool noodles and thread the “beads” onto a broomstick, wooden dowel or thick yarn.
Posting is simply the act of placing a small object into a hole. Check out the piggy bank picture above, which is a simple example of posting. Posting activities encourage in-hand manipulation skills as well as hand-eye coordination.
Simple posting activities to try with your child:
- Place pennies in a piggy bank
- Use an old coffee can with slits cut in the top at different angles and place poker chips inside.
- Make your own cookie jar! Decorate the outside of a coffee can and cut one hole in the top. You can make “cookies” together out of anything -cardboard, cardstock or just construction paper. Fill up the jar together and sing “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?”
Not familiar with the song? Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phn6z2kOxx4
This is step one in learning to tie shoes! Fitting a string through a small hole using a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to hold and direct a string or lace.
One great way to practice is to get out a pair of shoes! Take the laces out of the top set of holes and demonstrate for your child how to thread the lace back in. It’s fun to experiment with tying and untying easy knots when there’s no rush to get ready!
There are many commercial lacing toys. The brand Melissa & Doug makes good sturdy lacing items in a variety of fun shapes and colours that are made of durable materials and are big enough to be just right for smaller hands.
Click here to download this lesson as a PDF.