pony bead fishIf you have a young child or two in your home, chances are pretty good that you have pony beads. This colorful plastic craft supply is great for projects of all kinds, helping build fine motor skills and teaching patience as kids work through the concept, design, and execution of their project. And while beads are great for stringing and wearing as jewelry, there are only so many bright plastic necklaces and bracelets one needs.

These pony bead fish from Melanie at It Happens in a Blink are adorable, and easy enough for the littlest crafter to make. I see them as a fun jumping-off point, an inspiration for any number of other designs, from animals to free-form sculptures. The directions for the fish call for 24 beads and one chenille stem (or pipe cleaner), but feel free to experiment with more or fewer beads.

Simply thread the beads onto a chenille stem, leaving an equal length of stem on either side of the beads. Fold the stem in half, making a fish shape, and twist the stem together right above the beads. Bring the two ends of the stem together and twist to connect, shaping the un-beaded section to resemble a tail. And that’s it! Kids can play around with different color combinations and patterns, and I think they would be quite charming hanging by a thread in the window.

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