Lacing is a developmental skill that is often tested and practiced in pediatric occupational therapy. It’s a great indicator of a child’s abilities related to hand-eye coordination, fine motor and bilateral skills, problem solving (aka- motor planning), sequencing, and attention. However, it’s not often I meet a kid who loves lacing on a boring lacing strip, or even on those lacing cards shaped like cute animals or yummy foods (my own kid included).
But you know what I have found entices my own little one to want to try his hand at lacing?
Funny face lacing plates!
When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, there’s almost nothing better than a funny face to make them giggle.
All you need is a paper plate, hole puncher, permanent marker (in a few different colors if you’ve got them), and a piece of string. This string is from a Melissa & Doug lacing beads set we picked up at Ross, but you could also use a clean shoelace if you want. Just draw on a funny face, punch some holes around the edges, and show your little one how to make CRAZY HAIR by pushing and pulling the string through the holes! They can even draw the face themselves and try their hand at the hole punch for some extra visual motor and hand strengthening practice.
You can make a variety of funny faces and offer different colors of string to use with each plate. If your child is old enough to intentionally lace with a certain pattern (around late preschool or Kindergarten age), you can even encourage different kinds of lacing patterns, as pictured below.
Try not to get too focused on having your child’s finished product look as beautiful as yours. Remember, this is about keeping things FUN and SILLY!
Here’s a real life example of my 3 year old’s attempt at lacing (with a little help from mama when the string started to get tangled):
Have fun pulling out your leftover paper plates from that barbecue or birthday party you hosted over the summer and turning them into a silly, creative lacing activity for your child!