This is probably my favorite new lesson on the practical life shelves this month - it's quite possibly the children's fave, too. :) The little wooden container has lengths of yarn with pony beads tied to the end (my prep work). The little sake cup in the middle holds the needle, and the little dish holds the pony beads. The little heart stickers are numbered 1-6, but you could use as many stickers as you wanted - the child will use them to count beads.
First, the child threads the yarn through the eye of the needle. Then, this is the part I really like, she counts out the beads she is going to by placing one on each heart sticker. This is a point of interest for many of the children. When I present this lesson to a younger child, I say, "Let's see what's written on the hearts." Then we count together, "One, two, three, etc." Older children enjoy using the hearts to make a pattern.
Next, the child strings her beads by pushing them over the needle and onto the yarn. After she's strung all six of her beads, I tell her, "You can string six beads as many times as you want." Some of the children will come up to me and say, "I strung six beads two times!" Then, I take this opportunity to count them with the child - kind of a play on skip counting! I usually tie the knot for the child, but some of them have figured out how to do it all by themselves.