Everyone gets to make beads and then swap them with each other to make these fun friendship necklaces. If you have fewer children, you can make bracelets instead of necklaces (or just have everyone make a couple beads per person). Younger children can make clay beads (age 3+) and older children can make paper beads (age 8+).
- lengths of embroidery floss, ribbon, string or wool long enough to hang around the children's necks (about half way down their chest so the necklaces will easily slip over their heads).
- Bead Clay (younger children)
- Materials for Paper Beads (older children) -- it talks about keychains, but they work for necklaces too
- one plastic container per child (margarine containers work well) - you can label this "beads I made" if you like
- one ziploc bag per child - you can label this "beads from my friends" if you like
- All of the directions on making the beads are found in the
Bead Clay or
Paper Bead making sections -- follow those depending on which type of beads you're making
- clay beads: you can premake the beads for the children and just let them paint them. That way, you won't have to wait 48 hours for the bead clay to dry -- if you want to be finished in one sitting, use acrylic paint for decorating (wear paint smocks!) as it will dry in 15 to 20 minutes.
- Paper beads: these are easily finished in one sitting if you use glue sticks to put them together -- white glue can take a little longer to dry if the kids get carried away squeezing it on.
- Have each child make 1 bead per person in the group (the children should end up making about a dozen beads each -- no more than 20 or they'll get bored).
- Once the beads are dry have each child fill their plastic container with the beads they made
- All of the children should sit in a circle and then one at a time, have them walk around handing a bead to each of the other kids
(who place those in their ziploc bag)
- for preschoolers, as the children are handing out their beads, you can have them say "this bead is for my friend <name>"
(a good way to learn names)
- "<name> is my friend because..." (I like it when we play together, he has a nice smile, etc) -- this is harder so use it if the children know each other quite well
- for preschoolers, as the children are handing out their beads, you can have them say "this bead is for my friend <name>" (a good way to learn names)
- After all of the margarine containers are empty and all of the ziploc bags are full (ie: after all the kids have distributed their creations to their friends), thread the beads onto the string
- tie a knot (may need adult assistance).
- Proudly wear your friendship necklace
- Optional: you can thread a name tag onto the middle of it (poke a hole in a laminated paper name tag and tie it on with a short piece of string) to make a name tag the kids can wear each week