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Baker’s Clay Beads

This activity is great for children four and older due to the need for fine motor control. This is a great activity when the kids are at home for a few days since it requires time to make the beads, bake them and paint them.

Here's what you will need:
4 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 cup salt
1 ½ cups water
Utensils to have ready: rolling pin, blunt knife, fork, toothpicks, and a pencil

Here's how to make it:

  1. Mix salt and flour in bowl.
  2. Add water, mixing with fingers. If clay is too stiff, add a little more water. When mixed, take clay out of bowl and knead for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Roll clay into snake shape pieces, cut into half-ink shapes and pierce with a pencil. Place on baking trays.
  4. Bake in moderate oven (about 325F or 160C) at least one hour.

Here's what you can do while you make it:
There are several stages involved in making the beads - making the clay, making the beads, baking them and then painting them is desired. Each stage of the process offers you a chance to talk about the materials involved, how they change, what happens when they are combined and what happens when heat is added into the mix.

Here's what you can do once it's ready:
Once the beads have been baked, children can make a variety of things such as jewellery, key chains and other items for themselves or as gifts. While decorating the beads, talk about how the materials have changed, the different shapes that you have ended up with, and what else you could make with this clay (be prepared, there may be another project that gets discovered using the clay!).

* Remember that given the stages involved, you want to let your preschooler know that there are many stages - preschoolers often want instant results. This activity will require some patience so think about the suitability of the activity for your child. Also, this activity requires some fine motor coordination. The great thing is that if your child is struggling with fine motor skills, this is a fun way to get some practice in since the beads can be as big or small as she wants!

Comfort, Play & Teach™ Message

Comfort: Spending time with your child making the beads makes your child feel loved.

Play: Once the beads are made, so many things can be made. Both of you can use your imagination to think about what you will make with the beads. Don't limit yourself to jewellery. Think about games you can create and how the beads can be used for pieces. Or, think about gift ideas.

Teach: Any activity that involves mixing is a great "teach" moment. Talking to your child about the different ingredients, their qualities and what happens when they are put together are just a few of the things you can explore.

For Ages: 4 years and older

Beads can be coloured with paint and made more durable by painting with clear gloss enamel or polyurethane.

*Children can thread beads on a string or piece of yarn to make a bracelet or necklace.

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Content Provided By:
Airdrie Family Services

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