Design Your Own Lacing Pattern

by Kim

My son likes lacing activities, but sometimes he needs to be more creative than those can allow. What can I say, I have created a monster.

So we tried this activity and it was a huge hit. I wanted to share it with you. You will need scissors,paper, marker, plastic craft grid, yarn needle, and yarn (or embroidery floss).

Draw a rough sketch of the shape you would like. Remember, the simpler the design the easier. I did a regular rectangle and heart, but I did a dump truck and a bulldozer, too. You do not need to have artistic abilities for this, as you can see.

Place the plastic grid on top of the paper.

Cut out the designs.

Thread your yarn needle. Here is a closer look at the needles I used. I purchased these at JoAnn Fabrics, but they are at Walmart and other craft stores.

Start your kids off by tying the end of the yarn to a spot on the cutout.

Then let them have a blast as they thread the needle into the small squares.

This activity is great for fine motor skills. It also introduces them to grids and creating lines. Creating lines this way is so different from drawing them. Your child will understand points of origin and plotting the lines. Of course you don’t tell them that is what they are learning. The journey is so much more fun!

This activity is great for quiet time. It travels really well, too. That fact makes it a plus for road trips or doctor offices.

While you won’t be selling them at the local craft fair, you will have a cool keepsake. This activity could easily be adapted into ornaments, too. You can use cookie cutters to create fun shapes such as bells or gingerbread men.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Letter of The Week

Yarn y

Letter of the week y craft

Y is always tricky but this craft does double duty not only reinforcing the letter y, but also as a active fine motor skills lacing toy! As you can see I wasn’t fussy about how my son laced it. I wanted him to get the yarn through the holes not make perfect stitches. Holding the yarn in between his thumb and fingers also promotes the tripod grip ( proper way to hold writing tools).

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, a hole punch, some markers, yarn, scissors and tape. Letter of the week y craft
  2. Write a lowercase ( would work great with uppercase too ) on your cardboard. Letter of the week craft
  3. Hand it to your child and invite them to color it with markers.  My son has taken to tracing and writing the letter on it. Letter of the week craft
  4. Add more colors until they decide they are done. Letter of the week craft
  5. While they are coloring cut off a long piece  of yarn and double it, so it make a bog loop. Tape the 2 ends together tightly so that it makes a hard end for easy lacing. Letter of the week craft
  6. Cut the y out. Letter of the week craft
  7. Hole punch time!  Our card board was too thick for my son to punch the holes, if the cereal box in the picture hasn’t had writing on the inside ( why do they do that?!) it would have been great. If your child can help , have them help. Letter of the week craft
  8. Before you hand the y back thread the yarn through the first hole and loop it back through the yarn so it ties onto the y. This eliminates meltdowns about the yarn just zooming through all the holes. As well as keeps the 2 pieces together for later use! Letter of the week craft
  9. Lace! I laced the first two holes to demonstrate it to my son then let him at it. Letter of the week craft
  10. Keep going! Letter of the week craft

Teaching children about letters is more fun if you include as many novel and sensory experiences as you can. This was a huge hit and even bigger mess, but well worth it. My son who is in the midst of a perfectionist phase loved that he could “erase” his letters. He also loved how the bright colors magically appeared under the cornstarch.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a shallow cardboard box, cornstarch, and some brightly colored markers, pastels or what I used… window markers.  Letter of the week craft
  2. Color the bottom of your box with a few colors. If you are using anything “wet” let it dry 100% before adding the cornstarch. Letter of the week craft
  3. Add the cornstarch and cover the color. Letter of the week craft
  4. Start writing! Isn’t it cool how the colors pop? I was giddy that it worked! Letter of the week craft
  5. Explore! Letter of the week craft
  6. He wrote an M then exclaimed – look I can make a W too, then flipped the whole box , then wrote another M.
  7. Letter of the week craft Letter of the week craft We stepped outside to shake all the extra off! Letter of the week craft

Have fun this one is MESSY – I was covered, my camera was covered, my son was covered and we had a blast!

Some of our Favorite Alphabet Books

Take Me Out To The Ball Game !

Bat and Ball
This was another request from my son, his favorite book right now is “No, David!” by David Shannon , in the book David gets in trouble for playing baseball in the house. Of course my son thinks the book is hilarious ( which it is) and wanted to make something at art time from it. I added in the lacing which is great fine motor and hand eye coordination practice.
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Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, a hole punch, some ribbon, tape, some cardboard, markers and scissors. Start by cutting out the middle of small paper plate, and punching 6 holes on each side of it. Older children can do this with little or no help.Next wrap a small amount of tape around the end of the ribbon to make it stiff and easier to thread through the holes.Next thread the ribbon through the holes, I secured the ribbon with tape so it wouldn’t slip through. Tape down the other end when you are done as well and put it aside for now. While your child is threading the ribbon, or after if they needed help ( my little guy needed some) draw a bat on the cardboard with a marker. Have your child color it to their hearts content. Cut out. Tape the baseball to the bat.
Book
I was going to suggest “No, David!” since it is the inspiration for the activity but when I came across the book below I knew I needed to devote a whole book section to it.

“Let Them Play” by Margot Theis Raven and Chris Ellison is an amazing book, it tells the true story of the 1955 State Champion Little League team from South Carolina. The story is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once as the authors tell the readers about the realities and injustice that this team of little boys faced. They were the first all black all star team who were disqualified from playing in the little league world series because they hadn’t played a single game to become state champs, because all the other teams forfitted. I dare you not to cry, I was a sobbing mess by the end. The book itself is too complex for really little guys, my son had no interest in the text, though he loved the pictures. All kids old enough though should take a look, and be prepared to answer some tough questions about why people were so mean. Wonderful wonderful, important book!

Parent’s Corner : Make This Tonight !

Letter
Lacing Card

Once again shopping online has forced me to try and see if I could make it myself. I don’t need 5 bug lacing cards, I already have too many toys in my family room! So here is how I made one. I used my son’s initial, but there is no reason not to make a rocket ship, butterfly or a simple square!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( I am using a cereal box) , some card stock, permanent double stick tape,scissors, a hole punch, eyelets and an eyelet setter. Oh and a fun shoe lace. I let my son pick this out at the store, it’s thick so it’s won’t fall our of the holes easily.
  2. Cut your cardboard to a size the will be easy for your child to handle, the older the child the bigger it can be.
  3. Cover it with a large piece of cardstock the same way you would wrap a present. This way there are no sharp edges they can play with.
  4. Draw and cut out your initial or shape in a contrasting color and using the permanent double stick tape tape it on.
  5. Punch some hole around the shape. I messed mine up but ultimately even if they aren’t spaced perfectly it’s ok, they will still lace just as well.
  6. Add your eyelets.
  7. Start lacing. Please ignore my son’s messy face, I was making this while he ate lunch and he couldn’t wait to play with it. I was so excited to see how well he did with it too, not bad for 21 months! I think I may make a few more and “give” them to Santa for his stocking!