Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Lacing Shapes

My kids LOVE lacing activities. The caps were absolutely necessary because Munchkin and Bean love activities that make them concentrate, especially fine motor activities. We started making lacing shapes a few weeks ago when I finally bought a hole-punch. I took a few big pieces of cardboard and cut out a few basic shapes (squares, rectangles and triangles). I already had a few round pieces of cardboard that I had saved from frozen pizzas. I simply punched out holes around the edges and then wrote the shapes name in big letters in Sharpie. For the circles, I spaced the holes differently, but I kept it the same for the rest of the shapes. I made two of each shape, except for the circles, which we have three.

Can you see the concentration? Bean is very specific where she threads and Munchkin prefers to free-style.

We own plastic sewing needles, but we decided to make our own because the kids were unable to keep the needle on the thread without it falling off a lot, which would result in a lot of frayed yarn. The first set that we made, we used tape to keep the yarn attached to the straw. It worked fine, but I knew there could be an easier way...

Start with a piece of yarn cut to the length that you desire. Then cut a small, thin straw (we used two straws cut into four pieces each). If your straws have angled edges, make sure you snip off the angled edge, because it may be sharp. We cut the straw into roughly one inch pieces.

Then we fit the yarn through the straw and pulled it out the other end. We put a straw on both ends of the yarn so they could work with both sides.

Then we tied the yarn and double knotted it. Tug the knot tight and then slide it down to the end of the straw.

You can then maneuver the knot into the straw so that it does not stick out. Or you can leave the knot out, because it barely effects the lacing, you'll just want it near the end of the straw so that it doesn't become loosened or worn down.

Then let the lacing begin! There are various shapes and lengths of yarn - four shapes and four colours of yarn and each colour matches a shape. I cut the yarn to match the length it would need to be to completely stitch around the shape and have some extra in case they want to tie it off. They haven't figured this out yet and I let them pick what they want to work with. I have shown them a few different stitching techniques and so far they have figured out two of them. But they also like to stitch however they please, which is perfectly fine too. :)

Munchkin's - 

Bean's -

I keep them stored in a big cardboard shoe box. The yarn fits nicely in a plastic container, which does have a lid but it is not in the picture. The kids even unlace the shapes when they are finished! This activity is fun and simple and easy to clean up.

You can also use shoelaces, thick thread and pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners are difficult to use in this activity because they have wires in them and you have to bend them a lot to move on to the next hole. But the kids love pipe cleaners and that meant that they had to at least give it a try. :)

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