Handicraft Instructions Annual Bead String

Colourfully Discovering the Entire Year: a Self-Made Annual Bead String Made of Wooden Beads

Spring, summer, autumn and winter – our year is full of enriching experiences throughout its 365 or 366 days. This is especially fascinating for the little ones. Fortunately for children there is a wonderful way to get to know the annual cycle through play: with a year chain made of wooden beads!

How about making this very special bead string together with your children, for example in December to get in the mood for the New Year – or in January to welcome the New Year with the family. A new year in kindergarten or the start of school can also be a great occasion to devote yourself to these handicraft instructions when being with the kids.

In our example we're making an annual bead string consisting of 366 wooden beads for a leap year (this means that February has 29 beads per day instead of 28). The beads have a diameter of 10 mm. The finished annual chain is about 3.6 meters, including the loop at each end.

These crafting instructions are simple, but the crafting takes a little longer due to the of the high number of beads required. Thanks to Schnullerkettenladen's large assortment of wooden beads, choosing the handicraft material is a lot of fun already. Once the colourful wooden beads have reached you, you can start: Put on some suitable music – for example children's songs about the seasons or "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi. Whatever you choose for your crafty afternoon with friends and family – we hope you'll enjoy it to the fullest!

Faster realised crafting tutorials are for example those for making pacifier chains or mini grasping rings. Also check out our instructions for older children's accessories. Let us inspire you!

Interesting questions and answers about the annual bead string in advance

A year chain of beads is a strand of beads with 365 or 366 beads representing the year with all its days. Each month has a different bead colour.
The year chain is an accessory or educational toy with which children can vividly learn about the annual cycle. This idea comes from Montessori education.

Put the annual bead string down, for example in a circle. Now the children can think about the answers to the following questions, for example:

  • Which of the colours belong to which season and why?
  • What do the children like to do most in the seasons?
  • Which months belong to which season?
  • What is the weather like in which season and what does nature look like then?
  • How many days do the individual months have?
  • In which month do we celebrate which festivals?
In addition, you can make a large year circle out of cardboard on which you place your year chain. Or you can attach laminated slips of paper to your annual bead string that mark different highlights in the year.
The children can also use the year chain as a year in review: For this, the children string a bead on the current day, which shows, for example, by its colour, how they feel or what the weather is like. At the end of the year, they can see how the year felt to them or how the weather changed over the course of the year.

Video Instructions for Making an Annual Bead String From Wooden Beads

The handicraft material you need for making an annual bead string:

handicraft materials for annual bead string, year chain

The small tools you need:

instructions year chain, annual bead string: needle and threadneedle and thread
instructions year chain, annual bead string: scissorsscissors
instructions year chain, annual bead string: lighterlighter

Handicraft Material for Annual Bead Strings:

Step 1: Choosing the Wooden Beads' Colours

step-by-step instructions year chain, annual bead string: beads for months

The first step is colourful fun already – because you're choosing your wooden beads' colours for each month!

Usual colour worlds for wooden bead annual chains are these:

  • spring: green shades
  • summer: yellow shades
  • autumn: red shades
  • winter: blue shades

In our example we have chosen the following wood bead colours:

  • January: dark blue (31 beads)
  • February: skyblue (29 beads)
  • March: light turquoise (31 beads)
  • April: green (30 beads)
  • May: lemon (31 beads)
  • June: pastel yellow (30 beads)
  • July: yellow (31 beads)
  • August: orange (31 beads)
  • September: red (30 beads)
  • October: fuchsia (31 beads)
  • November: bordeaux (30 beads)
  • December: blue purple (31 beads)

However, Schnullerkettenladen has such a large variety of colourful wooden beads available for you, that you can choose many more colours for your individual annual wooden bead string.

Step 2: Preparing the Stringing

step-by-step instructions year chain, annual bead string: stringing aid

Double your chosen cord. Before stringing all those colourful wooden beads, we make use of a little trick for easier stringing: First, thread a piece of sewing thread through a sewing needle. Then knot the thread to your cord's loop. The needle makes stringing the wooden beads very easy.

Moreover, we recommend slightly melting both cord ends so they won't fray.

Step 3: Making the Loop

step-by-step instructions year chain, annual bead string: loop at the bead strand's end

Instead of a simple knot, we're making a loop with both cord ends by wrapping them around themselves. Tighten the resulting knot.

Now both cord ends hang visibly from the loop. We want to hide them. Simply string the first wooden beads, representing January, with the needle and slide them over the cord ends.

If this is a little more difficult, you can push the cord ends with the needle through the beads' threading holes from the opposite direction.

Step 4: Stringing the Wooden Beads

step-by-step instructions year chain, annual bead string: strung wooden beads

Now string the remaining wooden beads, bead by bead: first those representing January, then those of February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Isn't it nice seeing your personal annual bead string growing? The colour gradient from month to month is simply beautiful to look at!

Step 5: Finishing the Year Chain

step-by-step instructions year chain, annual bead string: finished annual wooden bead strand

Final spurt: Now knot a loop at the wooden bead strand's end, just as described in step 3. Make sure that the knot is as close as possible behind the last bead.

Carefully cut the cord ends to about one centimetre. Melt the cord ends and push them into the last wooden beads' holes.

You're done! We hope your family and friends will having fun exploring and getting to know the annual cycle with your homemade annual bead string!




Print Version

Important Notes for Using Annual Bead Strings

Please observe the following notes regarding the use of your self-made annual bead strand:

  • Keep the wooden bead annual chain out of reach of children who are too young for using it.
  • Check the beads and knots regularly to make sure they are intact.
  • Clean the bead strand carefully with a cloth. Strong detergents or disinfectants are not suitable for cleaning.

Advantages of Using an Annual Bead String

Such a year chain made of wooden beads does not only look pretty with its 12 colours and its colour gradient. It can be hung up or draped decoratively on a table like our other handicraft instructions' rainbow wooden bead garland. Children can also learn a lot thanks to it – because it is an annual calendar made of beads!

An annual chain's learning objectives can be these, for example:

  • understanding that the year is a repeating cycle
  • getting to know the different seasons as well as each month
  • getting to know public holidays as well as cultural festivities and how to assign them to the different months

The child can count the number of beads to better understand a month' length. Individual days can be easily marked with attached (if you want to: laminated) slips of paper. Of course, birthdays, anniversaries and other personal holidays can also be marked in this way.

Thanks to your home-made annual bead string and its vivid presentation, the child can get to know the year. There are many different perspectives possible: Do you want to have it depicted as a religious chain to represent the church year? Should the bead strand as a birthday chain represent the family's birthdays? Or how about a history chain that shows special historical events? You have the choice!

Another nice idea is not to make the year chain in one piece, but to make it daily as a year review chain. The child can string a bead of their choice every day – for example, a colour for a certain mood or the weather. This way you get a pictorial review of the year.

If you like, you can use paper to make a matching annual circle that you can put the annual bead string around. However, if you want to use these craft instruction's year chain – the main thing is that you and especially the children have a lot of fun using it!

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