"Busy Bag" Activities: Pony Bead Patterns

Eight drinking straws in rainbow colors
photo © 2008 Horia Varlan | more info (via: Wylio)

Dolly, featured contributor at Paula's Archives, also likes to use "Busy Bags" with her preschooler. She designed this fun patterning activity your kiddos are sure to love and, despite the inevitable errant pony beads laying around the classroom, you'll love it too because it strengthens numerous skill sets!

Supplies You'll Need

  • Colorful drinking straws
  • White drinking straws
  • Pony beads in various colors
  • Craft glue or low temp glue gun

Begin by creating sample pattern straws - stringing pony beads onto the colored drinking straws in various simple and complex patterns {i.e. ABAB, ABCABC, AABB, ABBABB, AABAAB, etc}. Be sure to glue the beads at both ends so that the samples do not come apart. Add a handful of white drinking straws, extra pony beads, and small cups to the Ziploc, inviting your students to first, sort the pony beads by color into the small cups, then practice copying the patterns on the samples using the empty straws and newly sorted beads. [NOTE: If you don't want to mess with sorting, consider storing each color of pony bead in a separate bag or clear craft tin to make the exercise easier.]

As they complete this activity students build fine motor skills, practice patterning, and review color recognition. For this and other "Busy Bag" ideas from Dolly, be sure to visit Paula's Archives!