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  • Gina

Beading Word Work Busy Bag

This activity is a great one to keep on hand when your learner might need some extra entertainment like in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or while you are making dinner! This activity gives your reader the chance to read the word and build the word, all in one activity!

Did I mention the incredible fine motor work that is happening here?!

Head to our Instagram page to see more ways to learn & play at home or in the classroom! We love to see you play & share the joy of hands-on crafts & activities at home. Be sure to tag @aplayfilledlife on Instagram or Facebook if you try any of our ideas!!

XO Gina


  • Popsicle sticks

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Beads with letters 

  • Ziplock bag or pencil pouch


  1. On a popsicle stick write a word that your learner is familiar with. This can be a three-letter word that follows a consonant, vowel, consonant pattern, or a more complex word, depending on your reader's level. Check out our free word list here!

  2. Dump a bag of mixed letter beads onto a tray or bag. Lowercase letters are very difficult to find. Uppercase letters will work great, but may be challenging for some to switch from upper-to-lowercase while they build words.

  3. You can store this activity in a plastic Ziplock bag or a pencil case! 

  4. When you are ready to use the activity, pick one popsicle stick and have your reader read the word. 

  5. Then, have them build the word by sliding the beads on the pipe cleaner, then read it again! 

  6. Continue building words with the other popsicle sticks!

What should you do before this activity?

  • Before introducing this activity to your reader, you want to make sure that they have mastered letter-sound correspondence. This will help them build the words as they read them. 

  • You also want to make sure that the words you are preparing are words your reader is familiar with depending on their current reading level. 

What are the benefits? 

  • Hands-on learning activities provide children with an opportunity to make connections to what they are learning.

  • As they strengthen letter-sound correspondence, they increase their fluency, which leads to them being a stronger reader.

  • The pinching and pushing of the clothes beads on the pipe cleaners strengthen fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 

  • Methodical tasks, like stringing beads, can be known to be very calming.

Want to extend your learning? 

  • Ask your student to swap out a bead to make a new word. This is a great opportunity to practice blending sounds as your reader might make a nonsense word. For example: spell the word /is/. Take off the /s/ & replace it with a /t/. What word did you make?

  • Download our free word families list to help your learner practice new words! (LIST HERE!)

  • This activity can easily be adapted to fit the needs of your more advanced reader by using more advanced words; incorporate blends, vowel teams, and silent e spelling patterns.

What is a CVC word? 

  • A CVC word is a word the follows a consonant, vowel, consonant pattern. These are often the first words that readers begin to read and spell. These are words like cat, run, and dog. 

What is a nonsense word? 

  • A nonsense word is a silly, made-up word that has no meaning. They can be used to practice important early-literacy skills. This is SO helpful for early readers because it forces them to use letter-sound knowledge to accurately sound out & blend the word together to read. They can’t guess or try to memorize the pattern. 

What is a vowel team? 

  • A vowel team is what we call the pair of vowels that work together to make a sound. These around found in many words and can include vowel teams like ae, ai, ay and many more! Check our word family download for more examples of vowel teams. 

Want to see it in action? Check it out HERE!

Small objects are a choking hazard. Always monitor young children during use. You get to decide what is safe and manageable in your home.


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