Lacing cards are a great tool for toddlers to gain dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and fine tune fine motor skills. They are good for as young as 18 months with help, but really more for 2 and 3 year olds. And making them yourself means you can personalize them. The ways to personalize are pretty much endless!! Have a sports fan? Done! Have a princess lover? No problem! Want to teach them to spell their name? Can do! Use pictures of family members, immediate and ones that live too far to see every week, or even month. See? And I'm sure you can think up way more ideas!!
To start you need cardboard, acrylic paint, and paint brushes. The cardboard needs to be thick enough to be sturdy but thin enough to cut through. Cereal boxes would probably be too flimsy. But moving/storage boxes would be great.
I let my girls paint the cardboard. I really didn't do much except supply the paint in small, controlled amounts. Other than that I let them go to town with it!
...of course that resulted in a painted belly... But it's a cute belly so it's all good!
Once the one side was fully painted and dry I had them paint the other side. They were having fun, and this gave me more options.
|Sometimes it's necessary to paint your hand too.|
I went into word and looked for clipart that I thought was cute and that my daughter would like. Then I made the pictures super large. You want them to be a good size for little hands to hold onto and control, but not too big or too small. Roughly 3.5" - 4" square give or take is a good size. Print the images out and make sure you like the size. If you don't then adjust up or down as you see fit.
Cut the images out leaving a little bit of space around the outside. At least 1/4" but not more than 1/2". This blank space is where you will punch holes later. Lay out the pictures on your painted cardboard to check for spacing and to see how they need to be laid out to best use the space.
Now you will also need Mod Podge and a paint brush to brush it on. Remove a few of the pictures and spread some Mod Podge down. Put the pictures back in place on top of the Mod Podge and smooth out as best you can. Continue with all the rest of the pictures.
Once all the pictures have been placed spread a layer of Mod Podge over top to seal them all down. Once that is dry you can either add another layer of Mod Podge or move on.
After everything is *completely* dry, cut out around the images. If you have enough room, leave some of the pretty painted cardboard showing. I didn't have enough room. :-( But at least you will see how pretty the painting is on the other side!
Once they are cut out use a single hole punch to punch out all the holes.
Make sure to stay far enough away from the edge. And I highly suggest using a hole punch that has cushioned handles. Your hands WILL hurt by the time you're done!
Once they have all been punched you can add another layer of Mod Podge to the picture side, and a layer to the painted side if you would like to seal them more. Then gather them up and put them together with some shoe laces. If you don't have any to spare you can easily find them at the dollar store. :-)