child practicing tying shoes
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Homemade Shoe Tying Activity

Dec 2, 2019

Learning how to tie shoelaces is often one of the more challenging tasks that children must learn in their early years. It requires co-ordination, fine motor skills and lots and lots of practice. Once they’ve mastered the task though, your child’s confidence will soar. They’ll gain independence, and you won’t be limited to buying shoes with velcro fastenings when you’re shoe shopping!

Much like our homemade button snake, which teaches children to do up buttons, this cardboard shoe-lacing board is a great teaching tool to help prepare kids for tying their shoes.

It’s made with just a few household supplies, and it allows your child to practice tying two laces into a bow without having to put a real shoe on their foot. With plenty of practice, when the time comes to tie their own shoes for real, they’ll be all set.


For more fine-motor crafts and activities, check out these lacing cards that also teach kids sewing skills.


What You'll Need:

  • cardboard
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • running shoe (for tracing)
  • shoelace
  • hole punch
  • marker
  • pencil crayons, markers or paint

How It's Made:

Begin by having your child trace their shoe on a piece of cardboard.

Tracing shoe on cardboard

Cut out the shoe, and using a permanent marker, outline the shoe and draw holes for the shoelaces, then use a hole punch to punch them out.

cut out cardboard shoe

Next, outline the shoe and draw on details like the toe piece and racing stripes. Then let your child decorate the shoe with pencil crayons, paint or markers. They can even add stickers or decals if they want to get fancy.

decorating the cardboard shoes

When the cardboard shoe is decorated, lace it with a real shoelace. Start with the bottom two holes, and criss-cross the shoelace across the front of the cardboard as you work your way to the top two holes. Note: you may have to come up through holes that you’ve already gone down through to achieve the look you want.

starting to lace the cardboard shoes

Now your shoe-lacing card is ready to be put into practice.

laced cardboard shoes ready for tying

To teach your child how to tie the shoe, sit behind them with the cardboard shoe in front of both of you. This will allow your child to view it from the same angle as you as you tie. Now demonstrate how to tie bows, moving through the mechanics slowly, describing the steps as you go.

child practicing tying shoes

Repeat the process a few times, and then let your child give it a try.

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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