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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kids Craft: Easy No-bake Flour Beads

Crafts usually involve a utilitarian end-product created via specific skills. Now, Art also involves an end product, and involves techniques and skills to produce it, but is not always necessarily utilitarian. Well, except for the cultivation of human spirit, that is.

Going by the simplest yet widely-accepted definition above, some of the activities I do with the kids can be considered crafts. I am not worried about semantics. Some of the activities don't fall into one or the other easily, but, I am not finicky. If my kids had fun exploring and making new things, and I collected precious memories from it, it doesn't really matter what the academic classification of it would be.

I am rambling again... byth yn meddwl.

These flour beads don't need to be baked - just air dried. And, it doesn't harden to wooden firmness, so, a pincer grip could crumble it.

This started as a quick and quiet task for me: I was hoping to make some beads to prepare some home-grown stringing activity for Oggie. Some colorful large flour beads and shoelace was all I was hoping to throw together that afternoon.

But, watching me mix the flour immediately caught the kids' attention and they wanted to play with it. So, I let Oggie taste it, poke it, and examine it, while Ana managed to wrangle a portion of the dough from Oggie to make beads of her own.

Naturally, many interesting odd-shaped beads came about. We used chopsticks to poke holes in the center so we can later use the beads for stringing activity.

I managed to make a small batch of big beads, paint them, and put them away safely out of reach.

Ana helped paint some of the beads once they were dry. Since she is way past bead-sequencing and stringing activities, she tried making caterpillar and bead wreath and other nameless things using pipe-cleaners (Chenille stems). Now, a set of pipe-cleaners aka chenille stems is a fantastic thing to keep in the crafts arsenal...

Of course, Oggie is not quite ready for stringing and sequencing, at a few months shy of two, so, he liked un-stringing the beads :)

At the end of each session of bead play, Oggie managed to crumble a bead or two just to prove he can do it.

Items Used: All-purpose Flour, Salt, Corn Starch and Water.

I tried a few variations, and the one I am happy with is, equal parts salt and corn starch, with maybe about 1½ times flour, adding just enough warm water to knead it into a fairly stiff dough.

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At 10:40 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

Great idea. I must file this away for when my little one gets a little older. My first enjoyed threading pasta (starting with canneloni and progressing through to penne, cardboard shapes with holes in it and cereal. She has just moved onto threading though hole punched paper and her first bit of hand sewing (very exciting). I should try her on beading with pipe cleaners. Have you ever tried making those rolled up paper beads. That might be good fun.
I think there is a place for art and for craft.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger ChoxBox said...

Love the colour of the beads and that expression on his face :)

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

::Kristine:: Gosh, thanks for reminding me about paper beads! I tried it with Ana when she had just turned four last year... she didn't take to it then, but, I think she'll be more receptive now - especially now that she sees me trying quilling on and off and seems curious :)

::Choxie::Thanks! It is almost as if the camera is an extension of my face these days - I follow them around with it when I get a chance... has become second nature to grab it quickly these days - they seem to just ignore the camera mostly and interact with me so, it makes pretty interesting home videos too...

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous ruchikacooks said...

Great idea. Easy and non toxic too.

At 1:14 AM, Blogger MindfulMeanderer said...

Hey! would u like to take part in the artsy0craftsy at my blog?? I love the carfts that u do with ur kids. might be fun. Do drop by..


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