When you want to give your kids some screen-free inspiration, there's nothing like an old fashioned string and bead puzzle! This version is not too challenging that they won't be able to solve it, but it's tricky enough to keep them working at it long enough for you to get something done (or drink your coffee before it gets cold!)
There is a lot of sensory engagement going on when solving this rope and bead puzzle. Kids have to focus on their sense of touch to guide and manipulate the bead and not let the strings get tangled up. But not only are they working on those fine motor skills, they also have to exercise patience while working on logical thinking skills.
Some versions of the puzzle use rings instead of beads, but it's the same concept. You may remember these types of string and ring or bead puzzles from your own childhood. They have been around since the beginning of time and while there are many puzzles with very, very complicated solutions, this is a good starter puzzle for younger kids and you can offer a couple of hints to help them along. (More on that in a minute.)
How to Make a String and Bead Puzzle
To learn how to make the puzzle watch the how-to video, or read the written instructions below. This short video shows you how to make the puzzle, and at the end I show you the puzzle solution. (You can only watch the solution after you have tried to solve it on your own. Sorry, that's the rule.)
Under the written instructions I've included hints on how to solve the puzzle.
You will need:
- Hole punch (Optional, a scissors will also work)
- Bead or ring
DIY String and Bead Puzzle
- Prepare the Base
Cut the cardboard into a narrow strip about 9 x 2 inches and punch three holes equidistant from each other.
If desired, decorate the cardboard. I covered mine in orange paper.
- Cut the string
Cut a 30 inch long piece of string.
- Assemble the puzzle
Fold the string in half and push loop through the center hole.
Slip ends though the loop and pull closed.
Thread bead on one end of the string.
Thread ends of string though end holes and knot on back of cardboard.
- Visual guide
Solving the Puzzle
Objective: Move bead from one side of the string to the other.
3 hints to give your kids: (ONLY after they've given it the ol' college try)
- Pull the loop forward.
- Pull all four strands forward through the center hole.
- Follow the string with the bead.
The best part is that after kids solve the puzzle they will feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment and be eager to hone their skills on another brain puzzler!
This looks like such fun. Sometimes simple toys are the best!
Sue Lively says
This is such a neat idea. Can't wait to try this with my son (and myself!) Loved the video!
Brilliant! I'm pretty sure my kids haven't seen this one yet so putting it on our summer list 🙂
Vrunda Manake says
I love this kind of fun activity. I am sharing the same puzzle in my kids school as well. He has STEM fair this Friday.