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In the time of endless lockdowns around the world, parents are struggling to keep their children engaged (note: not bored), and one of the easiest ways to do that is by learning new crafts.

DIY crafting has always been a mainstay when you are staying at home, and nowadays, it is one of the activities that will surely keep your children free from boredom. There are so many ways to add variety to bead crafting, and with the right kind of beads, you can make quarantine more bearable for everyone.

Perler beads

Perler beads are plastic beads that are arranged on pre-molded boards. Boards for perler beads are naturally spiky, as the spikes help maintain the alignment of the beads during construction. With a little time, effort, and creativity, children can create massive designs with perler beads. If your child likes games like Minecraft, there is no reason for him/her not to love perler beads.

Parents who have reviewed perler beads say that small designs take about twenty minutes to finish, and the more massive models require one to two hours. Perfect! The time needed to complete plans will ensure that your kids are busy for most of the day, and they can proudly show you the results of their creativity at the end of the day.

Perler creations are aptly called “bead pictures” because they are created flat on the board, the small detailing does make the finished creations look like pictures. If you have never tried perler beads before, we highly recommend that you get organized first by acquiring the right number of boards (if you have more than one kid at home this is essential) and of course, by purchasing enough perler beads so that everyone will have some fun with them.

Also, you have to remember that after completing the image, the perler beads have to be taped and then ironed. Once the adhesive tape is placed over the perler beads, you can no longer remove the tape, as this will surely ruin your design. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on ironing and remember to keep safe during this process.

Water beads

While water beads are not precisely crafting beads, they deserve a spot in our rundown of the best beads for keeping kids as engaged and un-bored as possible during quarantine. We are sure that your kids won’t be feeling the burn of social distancing when they get a load of water beads at home.

Water beads are routinely sold in stores, and they are perfect because they introduce kids to a mostly sensory experience while appreciating different colors. These are perfect for small children but they can also be used by older kids who want to have a blast with a straightforward exploration of water beads.

We highly recommend that you create a light table for water beads, because they look ethereal when submerged in water and with a light illuminating the entire space. A light table can easily be constructed with some silica adhesives and transparent plastic boards. As long as the construction is waterproof and sturdy, you won’t have any problems with it, and you can load as many water beads as you’d like.

What other parents do is pour large quantities of water beads onto the light table, so it resembles a sandbox. Add a small pail and small beach scoops, and you will have an otherworldly looking sandbox at your disposal. Little kids especially love the colors, and they are going to squeeze and play with the water beads to no ends. If your kids manage to split or pop most of it, you can just add more water beads and watch them grow in the water.

An interesting fact about water beads is that apart from being non-toxic, they were initially designed to hydrate indoor plants. But now they are being marketed as toys, and they are safe for use, albeit less durable than beads that we are used to.

Pony beads

Pony beads are the oldest type of plastic beads used in crafts, and they’re the least expensive, too. Nowadays, these are sold in more than 180 colors, and they remain as fascinating and fun to work with as the day they were invented.

You can also buy pony beads that are glow in the dark now, which makes for more exciting craft projects, especially for Halloween. Some manufacturers have also introduced transparent pony beads, while some are still opaque like the original pony beads of the yesteryears.

We recommend using pony beads if you are interested in making necklaces and bracelets at home. Pony beads are easy to spot. They’re colorful, big, and barrel-shaped. Due to the size of their holes, you can use any kind of cord or wire to create your plastic bracelets and necklaces. Whether you are enamored with stretchy cable or rope, or you have some leftover leather cords at home for your kids to use, you can use pony beads, no problem. You can also make a variety of other projects with pony beads.

Think critical chains and even unique dream catchers – your imagination is your limit. Some adults find the bright colors a little too excessive, but for kids, using these beads is sheer pleasure. Highly recommend for families with small kids.

Paper beads

Paper beads are handcrafted beads made with rolls of colorful paper. While you can buy these online, the best way to enjoy paper beads is by making them with your kids at home. You can use art paper, craft paper, or even old newspapers to create paper beads. Granted, these will require more time to acquire, and you will also have to spend on adhesives to create durable paper beads.

Wooden beads

And if you are tired of the usual plastic beads and you want something different, we highly recommend that you take a look at Beadnova’s very own painted wooden beads, which can also be used for a variety of craft projects, from jewelry making to other ornamental pursuits. Wood beads are lightweight, vintage-looking, and they are amazing with crafts projects, too.