Lacing cards are a great way to incorporate fine motor skill practice. It is also an opportunity for a Teacher or Parents to role model and guide a young child during their first tries at this task. Once the child has mastered the concept it is a great way for the child to continue to develop those small muscles in their hands and wrists. 🙂
Lacing cards are also a good lead in to learning how to tie shoe laces on children’s shoes. The key to remember for both tasks is that it takes time. Allow your child time to experiment and practice. Be there to guide and support and not criticize.
Lacing cards are also a task that allows the Teacher or Parent to dialogue with children about anything of interest to the child. Asking open-ended questions such as, “What are you thinking right now?” or “What other ways do you think you can use laces?” are a couple of questions that can stimulate a child’s mind and cause him/ her to think about things they may never have really thought too much about. Give children time to think once you’ve asked a question and take the time to really listen to his/ her answers or their questions. Children are better communicators than we think once we really listen to them. The key to children communicating effectively with each other is slowing them down and helping them develop the social skills needed to listen to their peers in the same way they listen to adults they respect.
Using small wooden dolls to encourage reading and telling stories is also another way of utilizing fine motor skills and communication. This time the dialogue can be about stories the children currently love and can’t get enough of, or stories they’ve never heard until today. The children may be inspired by the stories a Teacher or Parent reads and they may use their dolls to act out the characters. More creativity and detail can go into a child’s inspired representation of a story if given the chance to allow their ideas to emerge. Teacher’s and Parents are scribes until the child is older and can write for themselves. Fine motor development happens as children create the world the doll lives in as he/ she creates the story props. Recyclable materials come in handy for encouraging a child to continue with his/ her creative story telling and fine motor development. Once again deep and enriching learning is happening when children are allowed to explore, create, question and implement ideas encompassing fine motor and communication development.
Remember to always look at your recyclable pieces as a “loose part and intelligent play thing”. If your not sure of what this term means, take some time to research this and let me know what interesting things you find out! 🙂
Heidi Scott, BA & MIT The Marigold School of Early Learning
Serving children ages three to five years!