We've been trying to string beads on thin rope for months and haven't had much success. What has worked really well is stringing pony beads on pipe cleaners and stringing beads on wooden dowels.
For months, I've been saving the tops of plastic straws for some unknown project (we use them in our straw cups when we're out). Then an idea struck me, let's string the straws and pony beads onto pipe cleaners and turn them into bracelets! When I was little we made pasta necklaces, so this is just a play on that. As soon as I brought out the two trays of materials, the kids immediately sat down at the table and got right to work. Wild One preferred the cuts of straw, whereas Little Miss really liked "the teeny tiny pinks" (pink pony beads). I loved watching their pincer grip hard at work as they strung straw/bead by straw/bead. I originally wanted to work on patterning with the straws and beads, but they had so much fun creating their bracelets that I let them just work on their own masterpieces.