Pros:Skill building, sturdy, brightly colored, wooden
The Bottom Line: This set is very well made, and the price is just perfect.
I purchased the Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads for my daughter at the beginning of the year. She was probably a little more than 2.5 at the time. I purchased the lacing beads to help her improve her fine motor skills.
Recommend this product?
My oldest daughter received visits from an Early Intervention developmental specialist a couple of times a month. During this time, the specialist would bring a variety of activities for my daughter. One of my daughter's favorite activities was to string beads onto a shoelace.
I wanted to find beads that were around the same size as the beads the specialist had, but I could only find teeny tiny beads and the very large Primary Lacing beads. Because we have younger siblings in the house, I opted for the larger beads.
The Primary Lacing beads comes packaged in a wooden box. I am not positive, but I do not recall the box having a lid. This isn't such a problem, because I have transferred the beads to one of the boxes in our toy storage unit. But even if we had not, the box is large enough to hold all of the beads.
The set comes with 30 beads: five different shapes in six different colors. There are square beads, hexagonal (or perhaps octagonal) beads, cylindrical beads, oval beads, and circular beads. The six colors that they have used are- blue, red, orange, green, purple, and yellow. As expected, the beads all have large holes throughout their middles.
The set also comes with two shoelaces. I have found that because the holes are so large, simply tying a knot or two in the lace will not keep the beads from slipping off. We solved the problem by tying one of the beads to the bottom of each lace. Voila! The beads will stay at the bottom of the string.
Being able to hold a bead in one hand, thread the string through the bead with the other hand, and then switching hands to allow the bead to fall to the bottom of the string takes quite a bit of effort and coordination. By practicing with this set, children can strengthen their fine motor skills.
Additionally, you can use the bead set to work on classifying and patterning activities. Your child can sort the beads by shape or perhaps by color. Your child can create simple "AB" patterns (i.e. green/yellow/green/yellow/green yellow) or even more complex patterns.
The beads are wooden and painted. They are very sturdy, and we have not had any problems with the paint chipping or peeling away. The beads are very large, but they could still potentially become a choking hazard, so please be sure to keep these beads away from small children. My daughter was able to use these beads before she was three, and I would strongly advise that you only allow younger children to use these beads when supervised.
My daughter is a big fan of these beads. My house has a master suite on the first floor, and the other bedrooms are on the second floor. We have a gate at the top of the stairs to keep my oldest daughter from wandering around at night, and so she stays up there until I go and get her in the morning. She often wakes up before I go up there, and finds ways to amuse herself. On several occasions, I have come upstairs to find a snaking string full of beads. She will literally put every bead onto the string; she just loves stringing those beads!
I highly recommend the Melissa and Doug Primary lacing beads for young preschoolers. This set is sturdy, brightly colored, and well constructed. Your child can strengthen his/her fine motor skills and work on sorting and classifying- all in one reasonably priced set!
Amount Paid (US$): 10