CABIN FEVER: Perler Beads – My Shameless Pitch

DIY Family GeekMom Toys
Look at those cute little hands skillfully manipulating the beads! Photo: Patricia Vollmer

Back in 2008, I discovered a new craft addiction: Perler Beads!  You’ve probably seen these around, they’ve been around for years. It’s a great exercise to improve fine motor skills. I first saw Perler Bead crafts actually being made during my oldest son’s ice skating camp in Cary, NC back in June of 2008. It was one of the activities the kids could do before/after camp actually started. My older son wasn’t that interested, though.

I was browsing our local Hobby Lobby and saw an area featuring little starter kits for $7.99 each. I had a coupon (of course) so it was more like $5 for a transportation-based kit: it included 2200 beads and 3 assembly trays.

I brought it home and it was instantly a big hit with my youngest son. He and I worked on vehicles for over an hour — together! With no TV, computer or other distractions. I was VERY impressed with his attention span and even more impressed with his dexterity. Those beads are LITTLE….

My youngest son loved Perler Beads when he was 3, he still loves them at age 6! Photo: Patricia Vollmer

…and they get everywhere. I bumped a tray full of beads once and spilled them all over our living room! I was able to gather up most of them, the rest came up when I vacuumed.

Between my youngest son and me, we’ve made a bunch of items!  Mostly I will outline a particular color — such as the bottom of the sailboat — and he fills in the rest.

Some of the creations my youngest son and I made in Summer 2008. Photo: Patricia Vollmer

After school one day in the winter, both boys and I made this satellite. We downloaded the pattern from the website. Jake did the body of the satellite, Timmy and I did the solar panels. We ran out of gray beads.

You can download patterns from Perler Beads' website and make cool 3D creations like this satellite! Photo: Patricia Vollmer

So there’s my shameless pitch — Perler Beads are quite cool, and I’m pleased to have found an activity that commands my sons’ attention besides TV, video games and the computer.

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