Thursday, February 23, 2012

Top 10 Things to do with Mardi Gras Beads

Well, since I know that I know my clients well, I am sure that you all are trying to shake off the hangover of all the partying you did for Mardi Gras.  On the contrary, perhaps you are just inhaling coffee this morning to compensate for your toddler waking up five extra times last night.  Whatever the case is, if you have a pile of beaded necklaces lying around, don't toss them out just yet.   They can provide more hours of enjoyment with your little people.

Top 10 Things to do with Mardi Gras Beads

1. Ring the Mommy
Ok, putting the necklace around your neck, or their own, is probably the first thing your kid will do and I understand its not very creative.  However, your child may not be very efficient at getting the necklace on you or themselves at first, but they will get better.   They are practicing motor skills.

2. Pouring is SO. MUCH. FUN!  
We came up with this idea at a local Pizzeria when we had a pile of beads, three kids, and requested a few plastic cups.  Put the beads in one cup and then dump them into another cup.  Yes, its that simple, but set up this activity and watch how long your kid will play.  (And feel proud that you aren't cleaning up water from all over your bathroom or kitchen)  When you add another kid, or five, you can have them work together to pour the beads into a friend's cup.

3. Beads as (Pretend) Food. 
Beads are just fun for them to play with and the kids love to use their imaginations.  Yesterday I was handed this plate of grapes to eat by my four year old.

Beads as a Tossed Salad (I took this picture about a year ago after the kids went to bed.  They had left this in the playroom.  It's totally not staged.)

4.  "Sensory" Table (aka, Water Table, Fancy Bucket or Tub) Filler
Basically, any entertaining of your tot that would require water could be done with a pile of these beaded necklaces.  Instead of putting water in the water table, put beads and reduce the mess that gets all over your kid.

5. Play Pirate
Pirates loves treasure, and what better treasure than jewels?!?  You can even hide a pile under and blanket in your house or out in the sandbox, and go on a treasure hunt.  

6.  Sorting, Counting, etc. 
Use the beads for sorting into like colors, counting how many necklaces you have, etc. 

7. Dump Truck Loads
Beads make great "dirt" that can be transported all over your house.
8. Tea Party Dress Up
We keep a few necklaces with the tea party set so they are always ready to complete the party.  Yes, a fairly traditional use, but you must get dressed up for a tea party and no one wants to waste time searching for their jewels!

9. Recycle Bottles into Learning Toys
Even harder than getting beads into a cup is getting beads into a plastic bottle.  Start with a wider mouth bottle and then progress to a smaller one.   (Note: You may have to cut the bottle apart to free the beads if the mouth is really narrow)

10. Make Music
Once you have a strand or two of beads in a bottle, put the top back on and shake them like maracas. Then put other beads on and march around your house as a parade.  It's a great stress reliever!

I am sure you will come up with lots of other ways to add some creative play with your beads.  If you do, please share!

If you don't have any beads, and just have to have some after reading this post, I have seen them at the dollar store, party store, and even Target.   Or, just wait a month for the local St. Patrick's Day Parade and get some then!

Happy playing!
- Carrie
More notes-
- We get rid of any necklaces that break.
- Beads contain small parts and you should always be aware of manufacturers warnings.
- We don't play with the necklaces that have connectors.


  1. Good ideas. My kids play with them in the tub. Shiny things at the bottom of the tub keep them occupied forever! They use them for the obvious "treasure hunts", but also for wrangling their bath toys (we have a herd of rubber ducks). They decorate the faucet and soap tray during "fancy" bath tea parties too. The only problem is the paint sometimes comes off the beads, but we have so many, I just switch them out with others.

    1. Those are great ideas! And it really is amazing how those beads seem to accumulate. Have you tried glow sticks in the bath tub yet? They are fun.