My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education so I have a passion for making learning fun, engaging and, most importantly, developmentally appropriate for my own children. While the concepts I learned in college were intended to be used in the classroom, I have applied many of those same concepts to my own life with my children. One of the skills that preschool-aged children are developing are fine motor skills. This is a great activity for developing and using fine motor skills.
pony beads (available at Wal-mart, craft stores or Dollar Tree)
As you can see from the picture above, I used a divided plate to contain supplies for craft projects. You can purchase plates like the one above for $.97 at Wal-Mart. I gave my daughter 3 different types of beads to choose from and placed one type in each section of the tray. You can give your child however many types of beads you think are appropriate. Then tie a knot in the end of a pipe cleaner of your choice.
Your child can then string beads onto the pipe cleaner. This activity can be great for fine motor skills for young children or pattern making for older children. Once your child finishes stringing beads, you can twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to create a bracelet. My daughter loves to do this and creates bracelets like this frequently.