Upcycled Box Crafts
These festive lace-up ornaments are a 2-in-1!
Did you know that lacing and threading are classic activities that help build many areas of development? It fine-tunes fine motor skills, and even involves early math.
Here are some of the skills that come into play as your toddler practices lacing:
- Fine motor skills – Building a solid pincer grasp and intrinsic hand strength.
- Hand-eye coordination – Coordinating what they see and what they do with their hands.
- Spatial awareness – Aiming for the hole and processing what they see as they manipulate the string.
- Bilateral coordination – Using both hands together for a common goal.
- Early math skills – Counting and adding stitches.
Below, you’ll find a list of materials that you’ll need and instructions for the craft. Remember, the smaller the holes and lacing string, the more challenging the lacing activity will be. If your child is just starting to learn this skill, we suggest making large holes and using thicker string, so size your ornaments accordingly!
- Pencil to outline cutouts
- String for lacing
- elastic craft cord
- yarn with tape (this is what we used)
- yarn with yarn needle
- Your desired materials to decorate (i.e. paint, markers, pencil crayons, crayons, glitter glue).
- Start by outlining your ornament shapes.
- Cut out a panel of cardboard. With a pencil, outline your desired shapes and cut out. We cut out shapes with a diameter of approximately 6 inches.
- Punch holes along the edges
- Using scissors, poke holes along the edge of the ornament, approximately 1-1.5 inches apart.
- Punch one of the scissor blades into the cardboard and spin in place to carve out a hole big enough to feed the string through. Do this against something soft, like a rug.
- The string for lacing
- Make sure the length of the string for each ornament is a little longer than the perimeter of the ornament. We suggest going almost double the perimeter length.
- If you’re using string that’s not as rigid as a shoelace, like yarn, you can use tape on both ends of the yarn, to make something of a needle point, to feed the yarn through the holes (see video below).
- Time to decorate!
- Have your little one decorate the ornament! Use anything you like that won’t get in the way of the lacing activity (for this reason, we don’t suggest using anything that could fall off like pompoms) and of course, make sure things like stickers don’t cover the holes.
- Tip: The shorter the writing tool, the better it is to promote the pincer grasp. Opt for short markers or break crayons in half for younger ones.
- Lace up!
- Once the craft is dry, have your little one start the lacing activity!
- Ways to help or encourage your child:
- do the activity in parallel (at the same time). You'll both need to have an ornament.
- model the lacing process for your little one first
- use hand-over-hand to get your child started
- skipping holes is okay - maybe your child is going for a certain look ;) The point is to practice threading in and out to fine-tune those fingers!
This fun little reindeer is super cute and super easy to make. It's the perfect holiday craft for the little beginners to learn or for the older ones to complete on their own or with minimal help.
- Pencil to outline cutout
- Craft glue
- Googly eyes
- Ribbon or string to hang ornament
- Pipe cleaners for antlers
- White paper pe pencil crayon for the middle of the ears
- Black marker
- Your desired red material for the nose: red marker, red pompom, red button
- Outline and cut out shapes
- Cut out a panel of cardboard. With a pencil, outline the shapes for the face and ears and cut them out. You can make it any size you like, but we cut out a circle with a 5 inch diameter.
- Detail the ears and face
- For the inner ears:
- If using white paper: outline and cut out smaller ear shapes and glue to the cardboard ears.
- If using white pencil crayon: Simply draw the inner ear and colour in.
- Glue or tape the ears behind the face.
- For the face:
- With a black marker, make three markings where the eyes and nose should go for your little one to paste on the eyes and nose after.
- Draw the mouth in black marker. Alternatively, you can outline the mouth in a dotted line or pencil for your little one to trace for some extra fine-motor practice!
- Have your little one glue the eyes and nose down - provide help as needed, of course.
- Make pipe cleaner antlers
- Using pipe cleaners, shape two antlers and tape them to the back of the reindeer’s head.
- Last step: string for hanging the ornament!
- Cut your string or ribbon to a length of about 7 inches.
- Form a loop and tape it down to the back of the ornament. To make it stronger, you can use hot glue or punch a hole at the top of the ornament with scissors and feed the string through the hole and tie it up.
- You’re done!