- Pipe cleaner (we used green but you can use any color since you won't see it under the beads.)
- Beads in two colors (or more depending on the age of the child and how complex a pattern you want to make)
- Small jingle bell
- Red and green construction paper
- Black marker
The jingle bell not only serves as the rattle on the snake, but it keeps all the beads from falling off. String the jingle bell through the end of the pipe cleaner and fold the pipe cleaner over about ½ and inch. When the kids start putting the beads on the snake, just have then slide the first few over this end of the pipe cleaner.
Ask your child what 2 color beads they want for their snake and place the beads in a cup. Explain that they will be making a pattern snake by placing the beads on the pipe cleaner to form a pattern.
Little C loved making her pattern snake. She has not figured out patterns yet, but she loves doing what her big sisters are doing. If you have younger ones, you can give them multi-colored beads for their snake and just focus on the fine motor workout they will be getting.
Even the older girls got to practice their fine motor skills, which will come in handy as they work on their pencil grips and writing.
B was happily making her pattern when I noticed she had placed two yellow beads next to each other. When I suggested she check her pattern she pointed to each bead saying "yellow, pink, yellow, pink" until she discovered the two yellow beads. She was then able to correct her work.
When the snakes are done you will want to add a head. I cut an oval out of green construction paper and glued on a tongue I made using the red paper. Add some simple eyes drawn with a black marker and you have yourself a snake head! To attach the snake head, simply poke the remaining end of the pipe cleaner through the back of the head and fold the pipe cleaner over.
Here are our snakes. One of these things is not like the other...
This activity can be done with a wide range of ages. You will want to be sure you don't try this with any little ones who still put things in their mouths. The pattern can get more complicated with older children so they are still challenged.