A few years ago, my sister made this shoe lacing printable for 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) who was just learning how to tie knots at the time!
Since 老大 is learning Chinese and Korean in addition to English, we wanted to include the words “shoe”, “left”, and “right” on these shoe lacing printables for exposure to her 3 languages.
Also, young kids easily mix up their left and right sides, so the labels help reinforce this concept for children who are starting to read.
Because resources in our family’s minority languages are difficult to find, we are happy to share these free printables with all families!
We want our children’s languages to be part of regular life events, even something as simple as learning how to tie shoes!
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- Transitioning shoes from Velcro to laces
- When are kids ready to learn how to tie their shoes?
- Why is shoe tying so hard for many kids?
- Benefits of shoe lacing printable cards
- Video demonstration of how to set up printable
- What you need for shoe-lacing practice activity
- How to set up shoe-lacing printable for tying practice
- Tips for teaching kids how to tie shoe laces
1. Transitioning shoes from Velcro to laces
During the toddler years, kids are often wearing Velcro sneakers.
Velcro footwear is easier for little hands to take on and off. Since untied shoelaces can be a tripping hazard, Velcro is safer for younger children.
As kids grow and participate in sports, they transition to shoes with laces which have more adjustment possibilities compared to Velcro.
Laces can be adjusted to the foot shape without excessive constriction.
2. When are kids ready to learn how to tie their shoes?
Like all milestones, kids are ready for shoe-tying at different ages, often ranging from 5-8 years.
Give kids opportunities to use their hands, such as cutting practice, using play dough, drawing, and playing with open-ended toys. Practical life skills, such as cooking, getting dressed, and household chores should be part of the daily routine.
These are all natural opportunities for improving the coordination that is necessary for tying shoes!
3. Why is shoe tying so hard for many kids?
The process is challenging for many kids because:
- The many steps require fine motor skills, balance, and eye-hand coordination
- Young children are learning to distinguish left from right
Since many modern kids watch YouTube videos and have a lot of screen-time with iPads, they may not be using their hands as much.
This is a problem not only for shoe lacing skills but also for learning how to write.
Be patient with your child as he or she learns to tie shoes.
4. Benefits of shoe lacing printable cards
When 老大 was younger, she got great use out of these shoe lacing printables for tying practice!
Through this hands-on activity, she mastered 打结 / 打結 (dǎ jié / tie a knot) and 绑鞋带 / 綁鞋帶 (bǎng xié dài / tying shoe laces)!
- You can use our shoe lacing printables before buying new sneakers!
- Practice any time of the year, even during the winter (eg, boot season) or summer (eg, sandal season)!
- The template can be used as a coloring sheet!
- Each Chinese shoe is labeled 鞋 (xié / shoe) as well as 左, 右 (zuǒ, yòu / left, right). Korean and English shoes are labeled as well. Therefore, the shoe-lacing printables are “sight word” flashcards in disguise (wink, wink).
5. Video demonstration of how to set up shoe lacing activity
6. What you need for shoe-lacing practice activity
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- Shoe template – click on the links below for the free download in your desired language:
- 3/16″ Shoelaces (or yarn, string, ribbon)
- 1/4″ Hole Punch
- Colored paper (or markers for coloring)
- Painter’s tape
- Optional: Laminator and laminating pouches for durability
7. How to set up shoe-lacing printable for tying practice
- Print on colored paper
- Cut out shoes
- Use 1/4” hole punch to create holes
- Tip: Use painter’s tape to affix shoe to any surface. This helps keep the shoe in place so that it’s easier to work on the shoelaces.
- Practice knotting and/or lacing!
- Print on white paper
- Color shoes with favorite art supplies: crayons, pencils, or markers
- Cut out shoes
- Glue to thin cardboard
- Use 1/4” hole punch to create holes
8. Tips for teaching kids how to tie shoe laces
- Present the whole process as the introduction
- Then focus on one step at a time
- Keep practicing with the shoe lacing printables!
- Try it with real lace-up sneakers!
If your child is struggling with shoe-lacing practice, take a break and try again another month.
In the meantime, keep giving your child lots of opportunities to use their hand muscles!
If your child continues to struggle with this skill in addition to other skills, please contact his or her doctor for further evaluation and advice.
You can also see videos of other fine motor activities that my kids have done on my Instagram story highlights!
Have you tried this printable shoe lacing practice activity?
If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!
More activities that teach left versus right
- Jumping on Footprints to Learn Left Versus Right!
- Left Versus Right Hand: How to Teach Your Child Left and Right with Stickers!
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