Maia and I made a batch of Easy Big Beads last week from MaryAnn Kohl's First Art. First we made the self-hardening playclay with flour, salt, water, and cornstarch and shaped the beads. Maia rolled a few into snakes, but the dough was a little crumbly and hard to work with, so I ended up shaping most of the beads while she poked the holes with a bamboo skewer.
They took a few days to dry completely, then Maia painted them (she loved this part).
She started out with tempera paint (which the instructions call for), but also tried some watercolors that we already had mixed up with water.
After the paint dried, Maia helped string the beads. She wanted a necklace so we just used some wool yarn--not sure what else would work well for a necklace. Any ideas? The instructions call for thin plastic lacing or tubing but we didn't have any and I'm not sure where to get something like that.
She loved her necklace (she picked the watercolor-painted beads), but the beads didn't last long. Within a few hours of wearing it (and taking it off periodically to swing around or bang against the walls), each bead broke.
I think I'll let her string the rest of the beads onto a pipecleaner (easier for her to do herself) and then hang them up in her room to avoid breakage.
Although I imagine she'll want to play with them...