Kindergarten Teacher

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Fine Motor with Perler Beads

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At the beginning of the year I bought several large tubs of perler beads. These are the beads that you can melt with an iron and they will stick together. At the time I bought them I planned to let the class use them as they are intended with the pre-made shapes and designs but I struggled with this as there is limited creativity in telling the kids what shape to create. So the beads sat unused most of the year. A few weeks ago I decided to revisit the beads because I knew they had value for fine motor. I also learned that the kids loved sticking their hands in the bucket so there is a sensory aspect too. 

Two projects I have come up with so far. Yes, for both of these we used hot glue guns, more on why I decided to use hot glue guns in my room HERE

Using beads to outline pictures or highlight details. It seems I am constantly asking the kids to add more details and this is a fun way to think about those details as an artist. The beads also added texture and color to the artwork making it a win-win!

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(glue gun was not working this day so white glue was used)

Making a pattern with the beads. First the kids were asked to draw a line of some type on the paper. Then they had to decide what pattern to make and what colors to use for the pattern. Tons of fine motor practice!

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Would love to hear other ideas you might have for the beads!

4 Responses to Fine Motor with Perler Beads

  1. happycampergirl says:

    Great post, friend! We use these beads ALL the time in my classroom (further evidence of our kindertwin status?!). I do set out the little spiky frame thingies, but only in basic shapes – square, circle, rectangle – not the very specific ones (hard to make anything BUT a car with a car-shaped frame). I also have some very large (maybe 6×6 inch?) square frames that came from IKEA – big enough for the kids to make whole pictures using the beads. The key: I don’t fuse them. The kids make designs, take them apart, try something else, just as they do with so many other manipulatives. Their designs get more sophisticated as the year goes on, and because it’s open-ended, it is self-differentiating. I also put out tweezers, as some kids find it easier to place the beads precisely where they want them. Plus, the tweezer work is great for those little fingers!My favourite new discovery this year has been to put out a tray of these beads with basket of pipe cleaners. The kids went far beyond the obvious bracelets, rings, and necklaces, and made elaborate 3D creations. They also got into some pretty fancy patterning — the pipe cleaners make it easy to keep a pattern going because they hold the beads more stable than a string.Final confession: I do put out ALL the frame thingies the week before Father’s Day, and when the kids have a creation they like, we fuse it into a keychain for Dad. By June, they have had lots of practice with the beads, and come up with some pretty great ideas for their dads. And yes, there are always a few dads who end up proudly attaching their car keys to rainbow-hued hearts and flowers…

  2. Sarah says:

    I love these beads too! Where did you get your tubs from? We are going to make these at Mother’ Dayhttp://pinterest.com/pin/254383078922160087/Can’t wait and see what others are doing

  3. Matthew Gomez says:

    @HappyCamperGirl YES, further proof of kindertwins! Thanks for the comment and great ideas. Will be looking for some of the large frames soon. Didn’t really consider it as an ongoing center without fusing them, what a simple and perfect idea. Hardly anyone reads this blog so your confession is safe :)

  4. Matthew Gomez says:

    @Sarah Thank you for the comment and link, the bowls look really neat. I agree, hope to get more great ideas posted, I know there has to be many creative ways to use them!

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