Threading Beads

8 Mar

Bead Threading Activity


Age: 18 months + (can be adapted to be more challenging for older children!)

Purpose: Developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, patience, concentration.





Chopsticks, Pipecleaners, or Straws

My original idea was to use a chopstick (hey, I use what's available to me in my house!). It works well because it's a hard object so it won't bend during threading. It's long so a lot of (large) beads fit. The only thing is that you'll need to make sure your child holds onto the end the entire time. I thought of adding a ball of play dough to the end as one solution.

Using a pipe cleaner with a loop twisted at the end. Found that Freestyle had a bit of trouble because the pipe cleaner would bend, so this may be more suited for children with better developed dexterity! Would work very well with small beads!

I liked the bendy straw because the bend stopped the beads from slipping and the straw itself was stiff enough for the threading.


What to do:

1. Show your child how to hold the chopstick/pipecleaner in one hand and thread one bead using the other (most likely her dominant) hand. New words to introduce and repeat throughout the activity: bead, thread.

2. Repeat!

Next time we do this, I'll only set out a few beads! This is a bit too many!

Control of Error*: Beads are successfully threaded through.


Go further:

  • We are using large wooden beads here, but later we will move on to use smaller beads when Freestyle is ready.
  • Use a thick string (i.e. shoelace) with a knot tied at one end to increase the challenge.
  • Make it a math activity by counting the beads as she threads them.
  • Sort and thread the beads by colour, shape, etc.


* Montessori materials always include a Control of Error. This means that there is a way that the child can independently check to see if she has completed it correctly. In this activity, the child will know if she has completed it correctly if the beads are threaded onto the chopstick (yes, this particular example is sort of obvious, I know!). For other materials, such as nomenclature cards (where you have to match the picture, name, and description) there may be a small coloured dot on the back of the cards that do go together. When the child is finished matching them up, she can turn the cards over to see if she is correct. Brilliant, right? 🙂


5 Responses to “Threading Beads”

  1. Saffron March 29, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    This helped me with my high school work! I’ve been messing around with beads for ages and the whole “making a loop in the pipe cleaner” was all I needed. Thanks a lot!

    • Montessori Motherload March 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

      Glad it helped, Saffron!

  2. Beth August 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I have been looking for a bead threading activity for my two year old, but I cannot find beads that aren’t considered a choking hazard for children under three. The beads that you used look great! Where did those come from? Do you remember a product name? Are they designed to be threading beads or did you find beads that were meant for another purpose that happened to work? Thank you!


  1. Threading Activity: Pasta Necklace « The Montessori Motherload - December 20, 2012

    […] Threading’s an easy skill to practice in many fun ways! I’ve also written about Threading exercises here and here. […]

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