Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beaded Necklace - A Toddler Tutorial

When the baby, Siu Jeun, is asleep, my main concern is keeping him that way. Usually, this involves elaborate schemes to keep my (very, very noisy) two year old...quiet.

Luckily, she has a weakness - she loves anything and everything related to princesses. If it's pink, it counts. If it's jewelry, make up or a skirt, it counts.

During a recent nap, she started begging to wear a necklace she found in my bathroom. Granted, the necklace is hers...but it belonged to my grandmother first, and I did not save it for my daughter just to have her tear it apart before she's old enough to know better.

Thinking quickly, I grabbed her hand and said, "Do you want to go make a necklace??!" Did she ever! She was so excited. I wasn't sure how I was going to proceed - we'd never done a project that required such fine motor skills before - but I was willing to give it a shot.

I have a large bag of old calendars sitting in my supply pile. I grabbed one out that looked promising (full of pictures of flowers, butterflies and birds), a pair of scissors, some yarn, some tape...and set to work.

First I set the two year old up with her own page out of the calendar and a pair of her own (safety) scissors. She happily snipped, ripped and mangled while I figured out the easiest way to turn my own page of the calendar into beads she could use. I used the calendar because of the pretty colors. I was going to use magazine pages, but my pile of magazines was in another room...and the calendars weren't.

I cut the page into 1" wide strips, then cut each strip from one corner to the opposite corner, forming two long triangles.

Each triangle was then rolled over the fat end of a chopstick and the end secured with a tiny bit of clear tape. (I could have used glue - or Mod Podged the whole thing - but when working with two year olds, immediate results are best.)

I took tape and wrapped up about 2 inches of one end of a length of yarn. I knotted one of the finished beads on the other end of the yarn, which would stop the other beads from slipping off while she threaded them onto the string.

As fast as I could make up the beads, she figured out how to string them onto the necklace. As I handed her the last bead (and, coincidentally, the last bead the string would hold as well), she said, "More, mommy! I want more beads!" Luckily, she was satisfied with simply repeating the project. The beads were dumped out into a bowl, and she proceeded to restring the necklace two more times.

All in all, this project took about 45 minutes. If you ask me, that is a rather impressive span of time for a two year old to pay attention to a single project!

*Please ignore that wayward piece of pasta in the last shot. I think it's from dinner the night before...though I don't know how it managed to escape the post-dinner clean up! I think BBJ hid it somewhere...

This tutorial is listed on Make & Tell, over at the 6 o'clock Stitch. Head on over and check out the other great tutorials!


the 6 o'clock stitch said...

I love this...what a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing! I'm adding the link to my "relishing..." list for this week.

Su said...

Great way to use up those calendars!