Kids Beading Class Conclusion

Class 8, Graduation, and Some Thoughts for Teachers

So we arrive at the Kids Beading Conclusion.

At our last class, we spent some time getting organized for the graduation event, collecting finished pieces of jewelry to show off in our group display area. Once again, I tried to sell the idea of having a beaded gift ready to give to their mom or grandmother or whichever relative would be coming to the event with them. The girls finally got into the idea and talked enthusiastically about how their mom would like the item they had picked out for them.

We had materials available to make more memory wire bracelets, plus memory wire necklaces, and power bracelets. I had found some plastic flower beads, and a lot of the girls used them to make power rings for their fingers, with the elastic exiting from the bracelet at the center of the flower.

Graduation

The graduation ceremony was fun for the girls. I had set up a display of all the jewelry I could pry loose from them and labeled each piece with the name of its creator. It made a pretty impressive table, and they enjoyed showing the adults in their lives what they had been doing for the past 8 weeks.

The classes from other agencies had their works on display as well and it was interesting to see story quilts, a dance program, and other works. Each group made a brief presentation. At the end of ours, the girls went into the audience and each gave a gift to someone who had accompanied them there. It was a nice moment.

Some Thoughts for Teachers

I encourage you to share your skills with kids. While it can be frustrating at times, it really is rewarding to see the satisfaction of a kid who makes something with her own hands and is proud of the result.

One thing I noticed is that if you make sample bracelets, for example, a lot of the kids will want to make exactly what you made. Therefore, it is a good idea to make attractive samples out of your most widely available materials. Another portion of the kids will follow your example but trade our materials. The smallest group will follow the basic principles, but make up a design that is completely their own.

There is a balance between teaching useful skills, such as threading a needle, and making the class easier for you and the group by doing some of those tasks ahead of time. With the big group I had, I chose to measure out beading wire, thread needles, and attach crimp beads and clasps at the start of a necklace. The girls would have learned more if they could have done those tasks themselves, but it wasn't practical with the time limits and group size.

I used beading wire and crimps for a couple of projects that could also have been done with needle, thread, and knots for less money. If you have a smaller group, or just a group who are already handy with a needle, you may want to do more with a needle. This also cuts down on the need for tools, and may make it easier for kids to carry on at home with their beading.

I used a lot of 3" by 3" zip baggies to prepackage beads for various projects. If I were only working with a couple of kids, I would probably not do that, but let them pick through some shoebox full of beads for things that they liked.

Are You Teaching Kids?

If you are doing a scouting group, an after school club, or any other work with kids, I'd love to have your feedback on the projects in this series. What worked for your group? What did not? Where did you need more or better instructions? What did the kids enjoy the most?

Please go to the main page for kids classes and leave me your comments and ideas for other projects to share with others.

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