You will need:
- 10 Pipe cleaners
- White and blue beads
- Foam stickers
This is a great way to work on fine motor skills and bilateral coordination with little children that have difficulty beading, while working on numbers concept.
I place a foam sticker at the top of every pipe cleaner and write the numbers 1 to 10.
Children then have to place the correct number of beads on each pipe cleaner to create icicles. (beading on bilateral coordination and neat pincer grasp). For children with more advanced fine motor skills, I ask them to pick up the correct number of beads by nesting and hold them in the same hand while beading. They retrieve beads one at a time with the same hand to work on retrieving skills.
I then secure the beads and ask children to line up the icicles in the ascending order of length without referring to the numbers at the top.
Once they line up the icicles, they can check their answers by flipping over the icicle to look at the numbers.
Nesting and retrieving are important in hand manipulation skills as they affect the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the hand. Furthermore, holding beads in the ulnar side of the hand while the radial side of the hand is still beading, separating both sides of the hand, an important part of hand dexterity, so that one side acts as a stabilizer as the other does the work.