I try to have at least one activity ready for my son each day. He doesn’t always want to do a special activity, but on the days when he does we have options. One option that I wanted to make for a while but never could seem to find all the supplies for was lacing cards. Well ,just the other day I found my hole punch again, so I decided to make him some Christmas lacing cards. Plus, we were having a playdate at our house, so I thought the other kids might enjoy them as well.
- Cardboard (we used cereal and cracker boxes from the recycling bin)
- Marker (we used a Sharpie) for drawing shapes
- Scissors for cutting cardboard, construction paper, yarn and tape
- Glue or glue stick (we used regular ol’ Elmer’s school glue)
- Colored construction paper (we used red, white, green and yellow)
- Pen or pencil for tracing on construction paper
- Hole punch
- Yarn in coordinating colors (we used red and gold)
- Clear tape
- Using a marker, draw shapes on the un-printed side of your cardboard. We drew a Santa Hat, Candy Cane, Christmas Tree and Star. Basic shapes are easier to freehand.
- Cut the shapes out of the cardboard with scissors.
- Trace the shapes onto a double thickness of construction paper.
- Cut shapes out of construction paper.
- Turn construction paper so that the side with trace lines is facing the cardboard.
- Figure out which side the construction paper should go on (do this before you glue, saves time!).
- Glue construction paper to cardboard.
- If you’re doing a shape with two colors, like the Santa Hat, you’ll need to trace the shape for the second color too and freehand the edge that you couldn’t trace.
- Glue the second color on to the cardboard, traced side in.
- When all of your cardboard pieces are covered, take a quick break and marvel in their beauty. Also, add any additional details with a marker.
- With a hole punch, add holes along the edges of the cards. Not too close to the edge. It’s best if the glue is dried first. Make sure you put the part to be cut UNDER the guide on your hole punch (if that’s the way your punch works). Mine works that way, I forgot, and I mangled my tree. So anyway, holes around the edges, not too close to the edge and not too close together.
- When the holes are all punched, you should have a collection of cards like this:
- With the yarn color of your choice, cut about 24″ of yarn. It will depend on your shape how much you need, but I would start there.
- Next, make a pom with your yarn by winding it around you first three fingers about three times,leaving a 2″ tail.
- Wrap the tail around the middle of the strands (between first and second fingers) and guide it between the loops made.
- Take your first finger out and pull tight. You should end up with a large knot and three large loops.
- Cut the loops at the longest point so you end up with a tassel.
- Thread the long end of the yarn through the hole and tie in a knot with the tail, so the knot is on the side of the shape.
- Knot the tail with one strand of the tassel to keep it anchored. On the Christmas tree, I knotted it on one side with the tail and long end and then on the other side of the front of the card with the tail and a tassel so that the pom was on the front side in the middle of the tree. The rest I knotted in the back to keep it out of the way.
- Almost done, now we just need to stabilize the end so it won’t fray as we’re lacing. To do so, grab a small piece of tape (I eyeballed about a half inch).
- Wrap the tape around the end of the yarn (long end). Your inspiration here is the end of a shoelace if you’re having trouble picturing it.
- Cut the tip of the tape and yarn off so that it’s a nice, flat tip.
- Viola, you’re done! Give it to the nearest preschooler or Dad and see how it works. My son was not super interested when I first gave it to him, but during quiet time the next day he laced all 4.
Why Are Lacing Cards Cool?
Now that you’ve made these super awesome cards, maybe you’re wondering why kids love them? Lacing cards are neat and here are some of the reasons why:
- They are awesome for quiet play (take to church or restaurants!)
- They encourage hand/eye coordination
- They help develop dexterity
- They help develop sequencing
- They help develop fine motor skills
- You can write letters above the holes to develop spelling skills
- You can write numbers above the holes to develop counting skills (try by 5’s or 3’s or 10’s for a change!)
- They are customizable for any theme
Bloopers and Tips
Here are some of my bloopers from this project – the first one is a part of the Christmas Tree I mangled because I didn’t make sure the paper was under the guide and the glue was not yet dried when I started hole punching. The star originally started out as another Santa hat and I also have seriously problems drawing stars, so it was redone a few times. Also – proof I can’t draw a Santa hat, but I figured out why it looked weird after I was done and my son doesn’t notice a difference.
- Make sure your glue is dry before you hole punch.
- Make sure you use your glue punch properly.
- Take the time to line up your construction paper pieces before gluing.
- The smallest pieces (like the candy can stripes) can be the hardest to cut and glue.
- Try to do this project out of the site of the kiddos or have other paper they can cut and hole punch and color handy when you’re doing it.
- Don’t give a lacing card to a baby.
Have you made lacing cards? I’d love to see them! What are your crafts for the holiday?
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