Lacing (and threading) activities are toddler classics for a good reason. They incorporate many other ares of development, fine-tune fine motor skills, and even involve early math.
Here are some of the skills that come into play as your toddler practices lacing, as well as how lacing continues to build those skills.
The Building Blocks of Lacing & Threading and How They Supports Development
It’s easy to see why lacing activities are so amazing for little ones when you consider the skills leading up to lacing and all the developmental areas they target, such as:
Fine motor. Lacing a string through a hole is an intricate movement that requires a solid pincer grasp and intrinsic hand strength. Your toddler works these muscles constantly as she manipulates the string and fine-tunes her finger movements to move it through the hole.
Hand-eye coordination. When your toddler laces, she coordinates what she sees with what she does with her hands, also known as hand-eye coordination. Many of the building blocks of hand-eye coordination, like visual tracking and motor planning, begin to develop in infancy and continue to progress throughout toddlerhood and beyond.
Spatial awareness. Spatial awareness is your toddler’s ability to determine her position relative to objects around her, and the relative position of objects to each other. It involves understanding the concepts of direction, distance, and location. During lacing activities, spatial awareness helps her accurately aim for the hole, and process what her eyes see as she manipulates the string. This skill strengthens around 18 months old, but it begins in early infancy as your baby reaches for toys and plays with them.
Bilateral coordination. Using both hands together for a common goal helps your toddler coordinate the movements of both sides of her body. This is known as bilateral coordination, which assists in developing a dominant hand and helper hand — an important step toward writing. Targeting this skill gets both sides of her brain working together, too, making it easier for her body to coordinate movements. Babies start working on this skill as early as three months old as they track items in front of them, and it gets stronger as they cross the midline during daily tummy time.
Early math skills. Lacing activities are a great way to target early math skills as you count each hole with your toddler. As her counting skills progress, you can eventually work on simple adding (Lacing this hole and this hole gives us two stitches, or You have threaded 2 beads) and subtracting (If we take the string out of this hole, how many holes do we have filled? Let’s count them!).
In our BabySparks development program, you can find lots of fun lacing activities for your 2 year-old!