Sweet Pea is 40 months old.
- Craft Foam. (We bought ours at Micheal’s.)
- Plastic tipped beading laces. (We also found these at Micheal’s, but you might be able to use an old shoelace.)
- Double stick tape or loops of regular tape.
- Animal outline templates. (These are .pdf files and require Foxit or Adobe Acrobat to view them.)
- Print the templates.
- Tape one template to a piece of foam.
- Using the template as a guide, cut the foam into the shape of an animal.
- Discard the paper template (or let your tot color it).
- Use a hole punch to make holes along the outside of the foam animal.
- Repeat with the remaining templates and pieces of foam.
- Tie a knot at one end of each of the laces.
- Sit next to your tot and show him how to push the lace in one hole and then pull it through until the knot stops it.
- Demonstrate pushing the lace back up through another hole and pulling it all the way through.
- Once your tot understands, let them try alone.
Observations: Sweet Pea liked this and kept talking about how she was “sewing”. It seems to be exactly the right level of difficulty for her fine motor control.
I thought she would understand how to lace the holes in order around the edge of the animal, but this was not the case. I didn’t correct her and just let her lace the holes in whichever order she wanted.
We had a minor problem when she didn’t want me to “unlace” the animals. She considered the finished animals to be pieces of art and after she was done “sewing” one of them, she told me she was going to give it to her grandma as a gift. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have mentioned that we were going to unlace them after we were finished so she could use them over and over again.
The lacing animals were reasonably easy to create and kept Sweet Pea engaged. I would recommend this activity for other tots.
Notes from the Trenches: The laces are very long and could be a strangulation hazard.
The cat’s tail is too narrow to be hole punched. Ours ended up tearing.
I highly encourage you to seek out actual beading laces with aglets or your tot won’t be able to push the limp string through the holes. (Although mostly I just wanted to write that because it has been a life-long goal of mine to use the word “aglet” in a sentence. Dream big, Shannon. Dream big. )
Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent)
Carnivals: This post is linked to Delicious Ambiguity’s Tot Tuesday #27. It is also listed on One Hook Wonder’s weekly Montessori Monday and Mommy Moment’s Montessori Moment. Visit these site for some other other great Montessori ideas.