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9 Benefits of Threading Beads + Fun Threading Activities

Threading beads, also called stringing beads, is a great activity for young kids. Did you know there are also many benefits of threading for toddlers and preschoolers?

You will find a tub of beads and string in every preschool classroom, for good reason. 

Although beads may not seem all that fun or as flashy as most of the “educational toys” out there, they are valuable learning tools every child should have at home.

At What Age Can a Child Thread Beads?

Threading can be a challenging activity that takes a while for children to master and is very much dependent on their maturity and fine motor development.

Toddlers of 18 months to 2 years often start trying to thread big beads or objects but not with much control.

By the age of 4 or 5, a child should be able to thread regular-sized playing beads and even make patterns while stringing them.

Note that threading with the tiny beads we use to make necklaces and bracelets (pictured below) is challenging even for 6-8-year-olds.

Preschooler using small beads

The important thing is that children have regular exposure to threading activities. With time and maturity, they will develop better control and be able to thread smaller-sized beads.

As a rule, always offer toddlers large beads (or other objects) that have big holes. As they get older, they will be able to control and thread smaller beads.

How Do You Play with Threading Beads?

Threading beads can be played with as they are, or you can improvise and use other toys and materials to practise the skill of threading.

Threading Activities for Toddlers

If you are introducing toddlers to threading, I recommend using large, oversized bead that are easier for little fingers to handle.

Another alternative is to use wooden threading toys such as animals, fruits and vegetables.

Another good way to introduce threading to young children is to cut up toilet rolls into manageable pieces and thread those into a rope or string.

Threading Activities for Preschoolers

Your preschooler is ready to properly learn to thread and you can have some threading fun in many ways:

  • Use a store-bought set of plastic or wooden beads and string.
  • Thread macaroni onto a string.
  • Thread large buttons or spools onto a string.
  • Pierce a hole into flowers or leaves and make a nature necklace.
  • Thread cereal loops to make an edible necklace.

If you don’t have string or want to change up the activity, use any of these alternatives:

  • Straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cotton
  • Twigs from the garden
  • Pencils 

With an older preschooler, introduce patterning by asking your child to thread according to a ‘rule’, such as ‘one white bead followed by two red beads,’ or ‘two big beads, two small beads.’

Child threading beads onto a string

What is the Difference Between Threading and Lacing?

The words threading and lacing are often used in the same context and interchanged. They do, however, mean slightly different things. 

Threading is actually stringing beads or other items onto a thread (string, rope, cotton, etc.) like you would a necklace [source]. 

Lacing is passing a thread into and out of holes in a surface, such as when tying laces of shoes or lacing a string around a cardboard cutout with holes in it [source].

9 Benefits of Threading Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Let’s explore the importance of threading beads for your child’s development.

Fine Motor Control

Threading is an excellent way to strengthen the finger muscles and learn to control the fingers as they work together. 

Developing fine motor skills in childhood is essential if a child is to learn to hold a pencil and write. There is more value in doing pre-writing activities during the preschool years than in teaching a young child to write prematurely.

Bilateral Coordination

Bilateral coordination is about using both sides of the body to perform tasks such as dressing, cutting a piece of paper and walking. 

There are movements that are symmetrical (such as clapping hands), alternating (such as running) and then there are movements that require a dominant and a supporting hand.

When stringing beads, a child must learn to hold the bead with one hand while controlling the string with the other. 

Preschooler threading colorful beads onto a string

Colour Recognition

Beading is a great way to practise colour recognition. There is no need to use worksheets in preschool to teach concepts like shapes and colours. 

While your child is playing, ask her to pass you the red bead, make a pattern with blue and orange beads, or tell you what colour bead she wants to string next.

Visual Perception

Visual perception is when the brain makes sense of what the eyes see. 

It is an important pre-reading skill and children must develop letter recognition through play first – by being exposed to lines, patterns and shapes, which they will later see in letters.

Hand-Eye Coordination

Stringing beads is good practice for building hand-eye coordination, an important aspect of physical development. 

Want your child to excel at sports one day? Spend lots of time doing movement activities, but also lots of time doing intricate activities such as playing with pegboards, to let the eyes and hands work together.

Early Maths Skills

Playing with toys such as blocks and beads teaches children about the concept of numbers and amounts, as well as one-to-one correspondence.

You can also introduce patterning activities to preschoolers which is an important early maths concept.

Concentration and Perseverance

Fine motor activities usually require a child to sit for lengthy periods of time, which in turn builds their attention span.

The act of trying something as intricate as threading a string through a tiny hole will teach children not only how to sit still and focus, but also how to persevere and try again if they fails


Children develop creativity when they are left to play independently, come up with ideas and solve problems for themselves.

It is okay to do a fun activity with children, but don’t forget to also leave some materials lying around and see what your children do with them.

You will be amazed at the result.


When children are engaging in play, they are learning the vocabulary around what they are doing.

When your children are threading, be sure to verbalize what they are doing:

  • Shall we thread a necklace?
  • Can you repeat the pattern?
  • What colour beads do you have?
  • Are you stringing beads onto that pipe cleaner?
  • Are the holes too narrow?
9 amazing benefits of threading beads pinterest image

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