I go back and forth on shoe tying. Some years I decide that shoe tying is not on my list of things to teach, and I toss it back into the parents’ court. Other years I decide that it might be worth my while to invest in helping my little ones become competent at tying. This year is one of those years.
I have a lot of kids this year that have shoes with laces, and I truly do not want to spend ten minutes after every recess tying shoes (not to mention all the times in between). So, I introduced “Club Laces” to my class. The concept is simple: if a child can demonstrate to me that they can tie, I will send home a certificate and “induct” them into Club Laces. This not only means that they get some public recognition for being able to tie, but it also means that they become one of the experts in the class. When someone has untied laces, they go to someone in Club Laces to ask for help.
This has been wildly successful this year. I think that I have seen a greater demonstration of perseverance with shoe tying than practically anything else in my class. The kids are concentrating, practicing, and continuing to try even though it is challenging. I have had kids working day after day to get it, and they are not giving up! This alone is reason enough to bring shoe tying into the classroom. Teaching kids that hard work will eventually pay off is not always an easy lesson. Shoe tying has provided an excellent and authentic platform for this.
Here are a few practical suggestions that have helped me to teach shoe tying. I created several of my own shoe tying boards. You can certainly buy some very cool, fancy dancy shoe tying tools, but we had just as much success with my homemade versions. I just used a small piece of cardboard and punched holes in it with a pencil. I then strung laces through the holes just like a shoe. I made four and used them at one of our centers. This was nice, because I just worked with that center group each day and was able to help the kids out as they practiced.
The other VERY exciting discovery I made was a new way of tying! I fell upon this post on Pinterest and was truly amazed by the “magic fingers” method. I had come to realize that the “loop around” method is my favorite way to tie, but the hardest to teach. ”Bunny ears” are easier to teach, but VERY hard to do. However, “magic fingers” is both simple to teach, and to do! Amazing. Give this site a look, and try it out!
Finally, here is a link to the free certificate I downloaded that I am sending home with my shoe tying experts. It is super cute, and my kids are over the moon when they get to take it home!
Do you teach your kids to tie shoes? Do you have any tips or tricks?