Gifts Kids Can Make: Perler Bead Play Sets

Gifts kids can make perler bead play sets

We hung our stockings this weekend, and my kids took that as their cute to bring their holiday gift making into overdrive! My siblings and I used to make all sorts of little gifts to put in one anothers’ stockings, and my kids have come up with that same tradition. Lately they are very busy making little Perler bead play sets for one another, mainly featuring tiny people (the multicolored ones above were made by Lily) and light sabers in various colors. Sometimes they add a little scenery, like Lily’s carefully constructed tree.

I noticed while writing up this post that I apparently iron my beads a LOT more than Perler recommends. Their lightly-ironed beads look nicer, but these stay together through pretty rough play, and that is more important for me. Maybe I will iron them less as my kids grow older.

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Perler Bead child made toy

Six-year-old Johnny started making the little people, and Emma and Lily immediately followed suit. The lavender one above was made by Emma, and follows the patterning Johnny created (blue for eyes and red for a mouth). Lily uses any colors in any pattern for hers. The kids play with these little guys all the time, and it’s pretty cute!

Mini perler bead candy canes

Five-year-old Lily started making these little candy canes, and Emma made some as well. They are quick and easy to make!

If you are looking for a more sophisticated look, Perler Bead has all sorts of fun Perler Bead project patterns you can download for free from their site! I discovered this via Almost Unschoolers, and downloaded a nativity printable for my kids. The kids were super excited, but then started obsessing over having the perfect color of Perler beads, which we did not have since we actually usually buy imitation beads from IKEA. I may still order this set of Perler Beads, which would give us our missing colors, as well as these clear pegboards to use with the printable patterns, but it has been fun to see the kids create their own patterns with the materials we have on hand.

Update: I bought some real Perler beads (to get some colors our IKEA beads did not have, and for the sake of comparison). If you were wondering, they are definitely different from the IKEA version. They iron out more uniformly and thicker, and also have a matte finish that I prefer over the glossy IKEA finish. I am not sure how they compare to Hama beads, but will update this post if I find out!

afterschool linky
The Educators’ Spin On ItBoy Mama Teacher Mama,
Mama Smiles, The Measured Mom, Planet Smarty Pants,
Relentlessly Fun  Deceptively Educational, This Reading Mama

There were some really fun Christmas-themed activities linked up last week! Here are a few of my favorites:

Link up your after school learning and fun below – it does not have to be holiday themed! When you link up you give me and the other linky hosts permission to feature your post and to pin it to our After School Activities board on Pinterest. Thank you for joining us!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

16 thoughts on “Gifts Kids Can Make: Perler Bead Play Sets”

  1. almostunschoolers

    I bought one of those big buckets of mixed beads, and then had the kids sort them by shade during the long days of last winter. The play-set idea will be a big hit around here as well, I’m sure!

    1. I first bought these when my kids were too young to really like them; fortunately they have made up for their initial disinterest over the past two or three years.

  2. We have spent many happy hours making Perla bead creations. We also use them in therapy sessions as they are great for fine motor and focus skills!

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