The one thing we were told by Theo’s teacher is to work on his concentration. To be honest, I was caught by surprise because he’s well capable of sitting with me ploughing through books. He definitely has no problem playing with his train tracks for what seems like forever to me. But apparently, he’s easily distracted when asked to put on his clothes at Kita. It can be difficult to get him to focus on the important message you’re telling him when he’s playing with his cars too.
One of the activities we were recommended to help him build better concentration is beads threading. This is a really great activity as it helps children in so many aspects.
Threading involves using the pincer grip to pick the beads up and pulling the string through. It works their finger muscles which are essential for writing in the future. As toddlers do not necessarily get the positions of beads right the first time round, they need to figure out how to rotate the beads without dropping them in order to thread through. This seemingly easy task for adults requires a lot of hand-eye coordination skills from the little ones which leads us to the next set of skills threading can help improve.
2. Improved bilateral coordination
Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body in a controlled manner. Did I know about this prior to the activity? Not really. I came across the term while “researching” on scissors skills and noticed that it is used when cutting, rolling a pin, walking, playing the drums and writing (one hand holds the paper and another hand writes). Activities such as spreading butter on bread involves bilateral coordination of the hands too. Apparently Theo spreads his own butter at breakfast at Kita and his teacher said he does that pretty well himself (he loves butter!!!) so we are encouraged to do that at home too to enhance his bilateral coordination.
3. Pattern recognition
The first thing Theo did when given the beads was to sort them into pairs before threading. Beads threading aren’t just for the very little ones as I’ve seen jewellery sets (Melissa and Doug’s toy sets) which have much smaller beads targeted at older children. I think it would be a fun activity for kids to learn to recognise patterns and mathematical skills too. Now I wish I had these to play with when I was a kid. But I only had patterns printed on boring worksheets from school (this is when my husband goes “what a sad childhood you’ve had”).
4. Build concentration
See how focused Theo was? He did the activity 3 times in the evening. I made sure there was no distraction – TV was off and all gadgets put away. He focused just on threading and was very proud of himself when he finished threading the beads. As threading involves sorting through beads, manipulating them, attempting and reattempting to get the string through the beads, it is a really good activity to keep a restless child rooted to one spot.