BKLK_85_featured image_toddler educational activity for dads_colour sorting game gone astray_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

Melty Hama Bead Rainbow Bowl and Colour Sorting (sort-of) Activity – CleverPatch DIY Dad Challenge

There are things I’ve done on this blog that I’m proud of. And then there’s this week’s dad-craft.

CleverPatch challenged me to do something amazing with:

Iron-Me Beads & Pegboard
(click here to check out the Beads and click here to see the Pegboard on the CleverPatch website).

Iron-Me Beads (13500 bottle) & Iron me Pegboard (15cm x 15cm) - CleverPatch

I feel that I need to give you some context for what is about to assault your belief of goodness in the world. I recently had an epiphany which will be expanded upon (or wanked on about in greater detail) in a soon-to-be post, but the gist of this great revelation is that I am extremely egotistical. This on its own is not anything new, but since this virtue of mine is beginning to impact on my attempt to become an Awesome Dad, I need to make some changes.

And the first of these changes is to pull back on the epic dad-craft. I’ve been led astray by the wonderful compliments that you readers are feeding my ever-more-voluminous ego and now create things so bloody detailed that Little E doesn’t get a look in until a project is finished. That’s okay occasionally but part of becoming an Awesome Dad requires me to involve him and help him to learn and develop.

Which explains what happened this week.

Melty Rainbow Bowl & Colour Sorting Sort-of Activity

BKLK_85_toddler boy son playing with colourful beads_supposed to be a colour sorting game_turned into gross motor skill activity_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

You will need:

  • Iron-Me Beads (aka. Perler or Hama Beads)
  • small bowls or containers
  • an oven-proof bowl
  • a child with more patience than mine

Originally I was going to attempt to create some sort of 3D Optimus Prime out of these thousands of teeny plastic beads, but I dadded up and planed for a way to bond with my toddler son.

Little E is a genius. I know all parents say that, but if I put a fuzzy white wig and a big nose on him, you’d be hard pressed to tell him from Einstein. His understanding and use of grammar astounds me every day, and he has been counting to twenty for months now (though I will admit that the number six pops up more often than you’d expect when counting to twenty. Six is his favourite). But the one area where he shows no interest or development is colours.

Whenever I ask what colour something is he says “green”. Until this week I’ve hidden colour-blind-spot by only showing him frogs, bamboo and very mouldy bread, and then smiling proudly at passersby. So I came up with a fun way for us to work on his colours whilst being crafty. We’re going to play a colour sorting game using the iron-me beads (also known as Perler or Hama beads) and then create an amazing bowl!

BKLK_85_Colour sorting game for toddler boy girl son daughter_bowl of colourful beads and empty plastic tupperware sorting containers_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

Yep, that’s what I thought was going to happen.

Step 1 – separate coloured beads

My plan hit its first speedbump when I poured out a handful of the beads. I can see blue, red, green… hang on. Is that chartreuse? And salmon? And translucent? Bugger.

BKLK_85_Sorting basic colours from the millions of other shades_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

So I proceeded to spend the next hour separating out the kind-of basic colours from all of the broader spectrum. And I have stumpy fingers. These things are really hard to pick up with stumpy fingers!

After successfully introducing a kitchen-style apartheid on the previously harmonious bead population, I put a few example colours into some small tupperware containers. Blues, reds, yellows, purple and, of course, greens.

Step 2 – sort beads into matching colours

Here’s the plan. I show Little E the already sorted beads and then offer him a single bead.

BKLK_85_double_Dad's drem of how this interactive educational activity would go_FAIL_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

He then places that bead in the container that holds beads of the same colour. Boom. Colours learnt. Mensa-level toddler confirmed.

This is what actually happened:

BKLK_85_What happens to good intentions?_colour sorting game gone astray_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

So. It turns out that colour sorting is not at all interesting to my son. However transporting colour beads from one container to another? Now THAT is a game!

So within seconds of my attempt to teach him how to match colours, Little E had broken free of my evil-island-prison-of-rules and was running helter skelter into the ocean of creative freedom.

BKLK_85_Scooping beads by the bucketful_mixing all of the colours together_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

He loved the coloured beads though. So there’s a win.

Step 3 – create pattern with beads in a bowl

Next step. Try to show Little E that we can arrange the coloured beads into patterns inside of a lightly oiled oven-proof bowl. Yet again this idea was overruled and a split second later ALL of the coloured beads were poured inside (those that hadn’t made an escape attempt under the couch that is).

And then he walked off.

Well, if that’s what he wants to design then it’s up to his Dad to support him. If I put it into the oven as is there’s just going to be a big plastic blob, so I ham-fisted the beads into a single layer that went up the sides of the bowl as well.

Step 4 – bake in the oven for 15 minutes

I had preheated the oven to approx. 180 degree Celcius. The bowl baked away for about a quarter of an hour, until I could see the top row of beads beginning to melt. At that moment Little E shouted out for me, and when I next remembered that the beads were still in the oven, all of them were looking pretty wilted.

Once it had cooled I gave the bowl to Little E to see what he thought of his creation.

BKLK_85_Baked beads inside oiled bowl_toddler taking pulling the art out_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

He wasn’t sure at first. The beads were a tad slimy with oil which made it difficult to pick up but he persevered and, ta-dah!:

BKLK_85_Melty rainbow bowl craft art activity_toddler holding finished completed work_Perler Hama Iron-Me Beads_CleverPatch_DIY Dad Challenge

A Melty Rainbow Bowl

Sure it’s a bit ugly. Sure there’s no order or organisation whatsoever. Sure Little E didn’t learn a thing.

But that’s art for you!


What have you melted in the oven? Accidentally or on-purpose?

Let me know in the comments below:


This is not a paid post, however CleverPatch are providing Big Kid Little Kid with the craft materials used in this post.

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David Hawkins

Half nerd, all Dad & Founder of Big Kid Little Kid, the go-to blog for Awesome Dads. David is on a personal mission to become a more awesome dad to his two sons and teach them all the facets of being a major nerd. NES-off anybody?
  • Tash from Gift Grapevine

    Reality sucks doesn’t it?! I think Little E did well – my Mr TT, with his concentration span of a goldfish, would have been lucky to last one minute. I think you’re being too hard on yourself – the end result looks great (and it’s practical too – you can store all the extra beads you find on the floor in that bowl). Little E got to spend some quality crafty time with you and that’s the important thing. A reality check is good for the ego every now and then – just don’t let Demos know, he’ll be all over it :)

    • David Hawkins

      Ha ha! Thanks Tash! Little E had a blast shifting the beads from one bowl to another, to the floor, to under the couch. I even found one in my underwear. You too can make your very own melty bowl, plate or puddle. No crafting skill required!