Mix together 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2 cup cornstarch. Gradually add warm water. You will need 1/2 cupof warm water or less. Add just a little bit at a time and mix the dough. (I added way too much water to our first batch and I had to completely start over.) When your dough is the same consistency as play doh, you are ready.
Roll small pieces into little balls or roll a long snake and cut the snake into pieces to make beads with flat ends. We made beads of all sizes and shapes. The smaller the bead, the faster it dries, and the less chance you have of breaking it when you are stringing them on later.
Let the beads sit and dry for 2-3 days. Our smaller beads were dry after 3 days and the bigger ones we made needed another day or two. (Waiting is always so hard for my kids during projects like these!)
After the beads are completely dry, decorate them. You can use paint, puffy paint, glitter, or whatever you like it. If the beads are too small for your child's little fingers to hold onto and paint at the same time, put different colors of paint in the bottom of a box and roll the beads around by tipping the box different ways, or put paint and beads in a ziploc bag and squish them around to cover them with color. Be careful not to cover the holes!