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August 11, 2022

On Our Montessori Art Shelves - Making Beads

Typically, my older kids are past the point of many structured art trays. They just have access to a lot of different art materials and sort of go with the flow. However, with all my big kids home from school this summer, I'm trying to add a couple more structured works that allow them to return to work more than once. The biggest hit from this art work, has been making beads from FIMO clay

This work has been really easy to pull together. I simply provided a couple of colors of the clay in a small box with a lid. This helps to keep it out of the air and keeps little toddler hands from using all the clay like playdoh. Then, I added a clay tool that allows them to poke a hole in the center to make their creations into beads. 

Finally, I added another divided container with a lid to keep the beads in until we have time to bake them. I picked a divided container so the kids could keep their own beads separate from one another. In theory, this works well. But in reality they don't really care if they are all mixed together (and we mix them all together in the end.) Long story short, any container could work. 

To show them this work, we all played with the clay together at first. I shared how we could mix colors, make twists or balls and generally form a bead(ish) shape. Then I showed how to make the hole. From there, I've let the kids completely experiment with the types of beads they wanted to make. 

When they are done, I had the kids put them into our toaster oven (which they can use semi-independently) to set them. A few minutes later and the beads are hard and set. Once they are cool, we place them in a small glass jar on our art shelves for anyone to use. 

I stressed to the kids that they were making the beads for everyone, not just themselves. So they all went into a communal jar where they have been used to make necklaces, bracelets and all sorts of art. I love that this work sparks additional fun art exploration possibilities! Overall, it's been really fun and great for engaging Gus and Nora in some art this summer. 

Using FIMO clay to make beads in our Montessori home - open ended art project for older kids

Have you ever tried making beads? 


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