Make your own friendship bracelets–including beads–from start to finish.
To make friendship bracelets and necklaces you’ll need a batch of dough per 5 children, toothpicks, and dental floss. To make a bead, each child will need only a pinch of dough. Have kids roll the dough between their palms until it’s round, oval, or the desired shape. Use a toothpick to make a hole for threading the string. After the beads are baked and decorated, create necklaces or bracelets. Dental floss works great to string beads on; it’s strong and stiff enough to easily thread the beads.
Salt Dough Recipe
Salt dough can be used like clay; it’s easy to work with and will bake hard so creations last for a long time. This dough isn’t good to eat, but it can be used to form ornaments, beads, baskets, and sculptured shapes.
To make salt dough, you’ll need a mixing bowl, a large spoon, 2 cups flour, ½ cup salt, ¾ cup water, a cookie sheet, a metal spatula, acrylic paint, brushes, water-based varnish, a large workspace, and access to an oven. Pour the flour into the bowl and add salt and water. Stir the mixture into a ball, then dump it onto your work surface and knead it until it’s smooth.
Allow kids to shape their creations. Then carefully transfer the formed pieces to a cookie sheet. (Pieces that are too thick may crack or break when baking.) Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour or until dry. Cool completely before handling. Then let kids’ imaginations run wild as they decorate their creations. After the paint dries, apply a protective coat of varnish to one side. Allow the varnish to dry, then apply varnish to the other side and allow it to dry.
A Twist on Friendship
Making and exchanging friendship beads is a great way for kids to connect with each other and remember to pray for one another. Have children each make one distinctive bead from the clay for each person in the class. For a colored clay option, see the Drink Mix Clay Dough recipe. You’ll need clay, drinking straws cut in short pieces, a cookie sheet, access to an oven, heavy twine or rawhide laces, and scissors.
Cover your workspace with newspaper, and remind kids to not eat the clay. Discuss with children the importance of friends. Show kids the clay and have them choose the colors they’d like to use to make their friendship beads. Demonstrate how to roll the clay into small beads about ¾ -inch in diameter. Shape the beads around a short piece of drinking straw to create a hole in the middle. Then have each child make one bead for each person in class.
Place the beads on the cookie sheet, taking care to mark each child’s beads in some way. Then bake the clay beads. If you use the Drink Mix Clay Dough recipe, beads don’t have to be baked; they’ll air dry. When the beads are cool and dry, let the children share their beads with one another. Help them each string their beads onto their friendship bracelets.