Hama beads come in a variety of different sizes. Maxi Hama beads are specifically designed for younger crafters and they come in a larger size which is easier for them to manipulate. We've never tried the Maxi beads though, mine went straight to using the Midi Hama beads which are slightly smaller and come in a wider range of colours and designs. I buy lots of the large boxes of beads and then I buy the pegboards separately so that have plenty of projects that we can make. The pegboards for the Midi beads are very versatile and you can easily adapt them to make all sorts of different designs.
My daughter was about two and a half when she started playing with the Midi Hama beads. Obviously you should always supervise very carefully while your small child is using Hama beads as you don't want any to end up where they shouldn't. You need to be very sure that the child won't try and put them into their mouth, or in their ear or up their nose! They also need to be old enough not to become frustrated if the beads aren't doing what they want them to, and you need to be prepared for them to tip over an entire tub of beads which you'll then have to clear up.
Hama beads are great for developing lots of skills. They are perfect for building up fine motor skills, as children learn to pick up and place the beads on the board. It can be a little fiddly, but generally once they are in place they won't move unless the board is knocked, and young children will love the repetitive action of carefully placing down the beads.
The beads themselves come in a huge range of colours, which is great for sorting and matching activities. Once a child is confident with placing the beads on the boards they can begin to experiment with different patterns. Both my children in particular loved using the small circle pegboard. They would use different colours to make circular patterns, and when the design is ironed it makes a great coaster.
Older toddlers and children can move onto making up their own designs, or start copying other existing designs. I have a Pinterest board for Hama bead ideas for young children that contains plenty of inspiration, or you can search for ideas based on their current likes and interests. For example my children love Minecraft, and there are plenty of designs available that they can copy.
I hope that you'll try them out with your children!
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