Lacing Colour Sequence Beads

I love skill building activities that can be completed independently and I had hoped the Lacing Colour Sequence Beads would be one of these.  I have used Magnetic Mightyminds and enjoyed watching my children progress through the learning puzzle board cards and achieve a feeling of success while working independently.

Fred, at the age of four, is the perfect age to try out this new set of Lacing Colour Sequence Beads from Quality Classrooms and tell us what he thinks.

The 96 brightly coloured beads are smooth and pleasant to hold but not slippy for little fingers. The 6 colours, red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple have 16 beads each. The 12 strings are short and the perfect length for the sequences on the work cards, large enough for the beads to fit but small enough to not result in lots of extra lace leftover.

The 18 double-sided work cards are colour coded and have 3 levels:

  • Green (Level 1) contains 2 bead colours and 1 bead space to fill
  • Yellow (Level 2) contains 3 bead colours and 1 bead space to fill
  • Red (Level 3) contains 2-3 bead colours and 2 bead spaces to fill

I gave Fred a green card, a lace and we chatted about the sequence. We named the colours together and I explained the question mark meant there was something missing. We named the colours for the third time and both he heard and saw, the missing bead.

He began picking out the matching red and yellow beads with excitement. He organized them below the card first and then started to lace.

Initially, he did struggle to fit the lace into the bead. The beads have small holes, a perfect fit for the beads with little room for error. While this was a learning curve for Fred it did mean the beads did not just fall off the way they have with other beading sets we have tried.

The lace had a wonderfully long aglet (the stiff part of the lace which both keeps the twine from unravelling and also makes it easier to hold the lace and thread it through the bead) and this made lacing easier, once Fred worked out how to thread.

Two beads in, he had it and was pleased to quickly have made his first pattern.

Of course, when one child is exploring a new learning resource it attracts the attention of the others. Rose came in for a look:

I gave her a choice of cards and she got straight to work.

Her expression and the comment; “I love these games!” say it all.

The gradual increase in difficultly makes it easy for independent progression. This is a set I would use as a choice based activity at home and to teach patterning and sequencing at school.

The beads are perfect for number and counting activities too. Basic number bonds to 10 could be illustrated using a lace and two colours (eg. you have 2 red beads and add 4 blue beads, how many do you have altogether?).

Written by Chris, an elementary and middle school teacher in Pembina Trails School Division.

Top 5 Manipulatives for Infant and Toddlers

Manipulatives are designed to build strength in infants and toddlers, whether that be hand eye coordination, memory, leg or core strength. Here are our 5 most popular manipulatives for infants and toddlers:


The fun and flexible Oball is incredibly easy to grasp and safe to throw. The bright colours and smooth feel are captivating for little hands, while the virtually indestructible design withstands tougher toddler play. Perfect for all ages, Oball is sure to be an instant favourite! The Oball with Rattles is the same classic Oball that everyone loves with four clear rattles filled with colourful beads. Both are available in assorted colours.

Toddler Tough Vehicles

Take to the air, tracks or road with these tough vehicles, including a race car, train, dump truck, airplane, fire truck and police car. This Toddler Tough Vehicles set features no pinch axles and wheels. The cute painted on faces make them even more appealing for little hands. 3″L x 2″W x 2-1/4″H. Ages 12 months+.

Egg Shakers

A classic, these brightly coloured egg shakers are enjoyable for children and adults alike. Sturdy and durable, these larger Egg Shakers (2-1/2″ tall) are suitable for infants and toddlers. They are available individually or in a set of 5. Let’s get music making!

Stack-Up Cups and Cubes

Unbreakable square cubes and round cups can be stacked or nested. An essential for exploring size relationships, Stack-Up Cups and Cubes are fun to stack, smash, build and bash. Their ability to build a large tower and alternatively nest together amazes infants and toddlers alike.  Full stack is 14″H. 18 piece set.

Animal Links

This set of super light interlocking Animal Links can be easily linked together to create a variety of fun chains or exciting three dimensional structures.18 large easy to manipulate pieces made in 3 animal shapes in 6 bright colours, ages 12M+. Stack the shapes, sort by colour and style, make a pattern. Washable and safe, they have been specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of smaller kids, and they don’t make any noise when they fall!

Check out the rest of our wonderful collection of Infant and Toddler manipulatives here.

Paper Circle Popz Christmas Activities

I like themes, I can’t help it. It is possibly either the teacher in me or the organized part of my brain but seeing a theme carried out through a project makes me happy!

Fred and his friend have been busy making Christmas crafts. A simple wreath with Paper Circle Popz glued on looks great. Here we are discussing the need to NOT eat the glue stick.

Theo selects his circles and sticks. The selection was challenging and distracting. He preferred to play with and organize the circles! They are such beautiful colours.

We will continue the wreath tomorrow.

The finished product ready to hang on the wall.  (Fred had help!):

For cards, the boys had a limited colour palette.

Lines, circles and “Joy” stamps finished the cards.

Rose also completed cards for her classmates with this design. The lines and circles are perfect exercises to build fine motor skills to improve handwriting. She will finish by writing her name on the inside.

The boys will wrap their penguin footprint ornament and wreath up today, ready for Christmas.

I may add some Paper Circle Popz to the gift wrapping… yes I do like a theme!

Fun with Family Counters

These All About Me Family Counters are one of the favourite things to play with at the moment.

I am not sure if it is the colour, the quality or the sheer amount of people that make them so appealing, but something works!

Daisy enjoyed organizing them into parties. Here is a circle of friends.

She made patterns and asked Rose, “What comes next?”.

These counters are designed for making your family, patterning, sorting and counting but in our house, everything is used for dramatic play.

With a little balancing, the baby can sit on mama or papa’s hip.

Yet another of the girl’s parties. Rose likes to grab a few people, have conversations and move them about the house.

Yes, they do end up everywhere.

They will be venturing outside to play in the garden soon. We will keep you posted as to what they get up to.

Practice Sorting with the Super Sorting Pie

We have done quite a bit of sorting but this pie was just too cute not to try. I was hoping it would extend her sorting capabilities and it did!

She loved the tweezers. I set up the pie shell with an activity card in the bottom and Daisy played and sorted the fruit into the correct sections. She started off using the tweezers with a fist grip and changed to the pincer grip without any interference from me…yeah!

This Super Sorting Pie comes with 3 double-sided activity cards, 60 fruit counters, 2 jumbo tweezers and an activity guide.

Daisy loves playing with this pie while in her kitchen. We keep it out of Rose’s reach just because she is at that wonderful dumping stage. When she sees it out… it ends up on the floor. It has become one of those go-to activities when Daisy wants some time by herself.

Here she is counting and organizing, the numbers 5-10 are on the other side of this activity card. Daisy sorts by one type and then reorganizes and starts again using another system. The abundance of fruit allows her to sort out the pie at the same time. You can see here she does not always choose to use the tweezers.

The activity guide suggests many different activities including:

  • Match Me – match a selected fruit and line up the pairs
  • Fruit Picking Fun – say the name of a fruit and colour, asking the children to pick out the fruit using tweezers
  • Fruit Patterns – make a pattern and ask the children to repeat it
  • What Comes Next? – make a pattern, say it out loud and ask the children to say “what comes next?”
  • One of these Things is Not Like the Others – pick three fruits that are alike and one that is different and ask the children to find the one that is different and explain why.
  • Count Your Colours – Say a number and a colour and ask the children to pick those fruits out of the pie and count them.

If you would like a great sorting game I would recommend the Super Sorting Pie. It is versatile and of great value!

Anyone for fruit pie?

Learning Patterns with Links

As I have mentioned before early math is not my strong suit so I am learning too. I had seen variations of Link ‘N Learn Links being used.  I have also seen paper clips being used instead of links with homemade activity cards.

I took the easy option (I am scaffolding my learning) and used Link ‘N Learn Links and Link ‘N Learn Activity Cards. The wonderful resource guide took things step by step for me. If I was teaching fractions I would know exactly where to start; (no problem for a grade 6 teacher) but for early patterning, I am enjoying using resources.

The first time I got this resource out I remembered to let Daisy play. I have made the mistake of trying to do a structured activity without letting her play and explore the materials first. It never works. I firmly believe in learning through play and if an activity is no longer fun for my flowers, they will not be doing it. She had made bracelets and necklaces for herself and her stuffies before sitting down to do this activity.

We started sorting the links by colour.

We looked at the activity cards and started at the beginning. They are all double-sided and clearly labelled, starting with 1a then 1b and moving on to 2a etc. We discussed the pattern saying aloud the colours; “red, yellow, blue, green, red, yellow, blue, green,” and Daisy joined in.

She stated “I know what to do mummy” and off she went. She was happy to do this independently. I watched and if she struggled I asked

“Would you like help?”

“What do you think comes next?”

“What is the pattern?”

Daisy played, making patterns for 20 minutes. As you can see from the picture below she was just getting to the continuing pattern point when interest was lost. Her colour matching and sequencing skills are strong and I think we are ready to move on to continuing patterns. What you can’t really see is that she insisted on matching the break in the links also. The activity cards show if the link break is at the top or bottom. Daisy simply HAD to match the break in her pattern, with the card (a perfectionist in the making!)

Learning Opportunities:

Math: sorting by colour, identifying and reproducing patterns, discussing patterns

How have you used links?