Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beaded Friendship Necklaces for Valentine's Day

My boys playing the "Friendship Necklace" Game.

Our Valentine's Day focus this year is friendship and how to be a good friend!  Accordingly, I have a developed this activity as a representation of friendship.  Prior to the activity, each child will be assigned a bead color. 



Each color will have a film canister filled with corresponding beads.  Because it is a Valentine's Day activity, I purchased heart beads from Oriental Trading.  If you have a large group of students, you could do this activity in small groups to limit the number of colors needed. Or for a more complex game, some students could be assigned colored heart beads and some could be assigned regular circle-shaped pony beads.
  
To play the game, the children will sit at the table with a long piece of elastic necklace string taped to the table in front of them.  (You can buy elastic necklace string in the craft department at any store that sells beads.)  Then, use a fan spinner to determine the bead selection & color sequence.  

Rework:  If this version of the game is too complex because it requires a lot of wait time that some students aren't ready for, simply use a color-coded picture.  Have your students assemble the necklace in the order represented by the chart. 




Teacher's Tip: I keep a few 8x10 and 5x7 clear plastic frames around to use for a variety of things. They can be great for lists as you can use a dry erase marker with them to mark off when you are finished with each step and it wipes right off when you’re finished.  (Stayed tuned for other uses of these frames in future posts.)

Fan Spinner

Educator's Experience:  Several years ago, I learned about fan spinners during a training by Caroline Musselwhite. Dr. Musselwhite is an amazing assistive technology specialist who has a lot of awesome tips and strategies to use with students who have special needs.  You can check out her website or learn how to make the fan spinner here
  
After spinning the spinner, the student with the color of bead the spinner landed on gets up and passes out his/her colored beads to their friends.  It is a great fine motor task because the child passing the beads out will have to use a pincer grasp to get the beads out of their film canister and the children sitting at the table will have to use their fine motor skills to string the bead onto their necklaces.  

Another great thing about the activity is all the social skills that are involved in it.  The children have to patiently wait their turn. They also need to pay close attention to what is going on around them as they watch for their color selection. The students must also work on polite manners by saying "thank you" and "you’re welcome" as they give and receive beads. 

After stringing half the beads, I will string this heart-shaped poem on each necklace so parents know how the necklace was made

The Poem reads: This is not just any necklace as you can see, it is made with love by my friends and me.  Red for Timmy, blue for Bob, orange for EJ, Yellow for Payton, (etc.) 
Heart-Shaped Poem for center of the necklace.
Lastly, they have a fun finished product that they can proudly wear home to show their family.  

EJ proudly wearing the friendship necklace
created during the game with his brother.

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