Using Perler Beads as Bead Bar Substitutes
|The Bead Stair. These Perler Beads can be fused together to look like the bead bars traditionally used.|
Lots of Montessori lessons for children 4 and up rely on beads. But buying the bead sets can be expensive and making them is just a HUGE headache. So when I recently spent a week over Spring Break with my kids and a bunch of craft kits, I thought I'd experiment with a cheaper way to do the same thing, just for the introductory lessons. Enter Perler Beads.
A few months ago I didn't even know what Perler Beads were. They were near the pony beads at Michael's and I have bad memories of making necklaces and lanyards with those things only to have them fall apart. But Perler Beads are meant to be part of a design you make on a grid and then melt a little bit under a medium iron--just enough to make them glom together permanently.
Not only are these things pretty cool, but when I discovered that they also make Biggie Beads I was ecstatic because that meant the 3-year-old could make stuff side-by-side with the bigger kids. I know--WHO KNEW?!?
|Normal math beads on the left, normal Perler Beads in the center, and Perler Biggie Beads on the right.|
|We made monsters......|
|....and then Mommy got bored and made Montessori Math Beads!|
|Note that the 5-bead bar and the 9-bead bar were the same color. Also, the 10-bead bar, which is normally golden, is orange here.|
This is just one example of using things around the house to teach your children! To learn more about saving money when Montessori-ing see How to Montessori Without Going Broke and "Montessori Lite" When You Don't Have Montessori Stuff.