We all know how much kids love lacing and at first glance, it may seem like a pretty basic activity — put a thread through holes, take it out, and repeat.
But look closer and you will see why they return to it. Lacing and threading engages a child in a number of different ways from hand-eye coordination to their fine motor and spatial skills. This means that the perfect lacing toy for your child will vary according to their age and the skills they are developing at a given stage.
In this blog, we will look at the different skills lacing hones, age-appropriate lacing activities, and some awesome lacing toys for children.
What are the benefits of lacing?
1. Fine motor skills – The tiny muscles in the hand begin to develop from infancy and continue to strengthen till a child is 7-8 years. Lacing a string through a hole requires a good pincer grasp and overall hand strength, which will challenge and hone a child’s fine motor skills at almost any age.
2. Spatial awareness – Spatial awareness is the ability to determine our position in relation to objects around us and the position of objects in relation to each other. This awareness also begins when a child is born and develops over time. In lacing, accurately aiming for a hole can help sharpen spatial awareness.
3. Bilateral and hand-eye coordination – Visually tracking the hand’s movement while lacing develops hand-eye coordination and coordinating both hands together develops bilateral coordination. These skills are necessary for future activities like writing, pulling up a zipper, and most sports. As bilateral coordination solidifies between 3-4 years, this is the perfect age to introduce more challenging lacing activities.
4. Life skills – Lacing also offers a lot of other fringe benefits for preschoolers and older children such as learning the basics of sewing and even how to count! You can even eventually teach your little one how to add and subtract while lacing.
5. Patience and focus – Lacing regularly and trying to get better at it will sharpen a child’s focus and patience. But remember that using age-appropriate blocks, strings, and other elements is key so that your child doesn’t get frustrated and give up. You’ll see this in action with some of the toys below.
Types of lacing for different ages
1-3 years – Get started with a thick string or shoelace and smooth, chunky beads with large holes. The big pieces will be safe for little kids and the large holes and thick string will let them find the holes and push the string through it easily. You can help them get started by holding their hand and guiding them along a few times.
3-5 years – For preschoolers, you can move to slightly smaller beads and a thinner string. They will even enjoy lacing through beads and baubles of different shapes and sizes. You could get them a themed lacing set to stoke their imagination, even asking for their opinion while picking it out!
5+ years – It’s time to learn real skills that require lacing! You can now teach your child to tie their shoe laces or get them to help you tie a bow while gift wrapping. Once they are old enough, you can show them the basics of sewing and see if it strikes a chord! Learning to tie laces, bows, and sew takes time, so remember to be patient and let them get to it in their own time.
Lacing toys your child will love
Suitable for 2+ years
Ready to begin the lacing journey? This smoothly handcrafted blocks set might be just the thing for your little one! This set is printed with lovely illustrations and is designed for tiny hands to create their own patterns. Learn about farms, animals, and the environment as you play along!
Suitable for 2+ years
Shumee’s themed stringing and threading toys are the perfect way to introduce your child to a needle and thread set! It is simple, portable, and is sure to hold their attention for hours. You can take your pick from a fruit-themed set and a sea-themed one.
Suitable for 3+ Years
Meet a bear in the jungle or the little girl in her garden. Mix and match both themes. Peg it, thread it, or just play with it! This toy comes with 10 beautifully handcrafted unique blocks painted on both sides with a little hole in the middle to peg on a stand or lace through.This double-sided lacing toy offers endless creative ways to tell new tales every day!
Suitable for 3+ years
With this toy, your child can make a lion, elephant, moose, koala, or a whole new animal of their own imagination! This set comes with 17 handcrafted wooden pieces for the animals’ faces, heads, and bodies. Each piece has holes through which a thread can be pulled to tie together any animal your child can dream up!