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Using items you already have around the house, you can create a simple, inexpensive lacing activity!
I presented this activity to two different groups: a multi-age group in a home-based daycare and a group of four-year-olds in a childcare establishment. In both cases, it was a big success!
Modeling dough: To make non-toxic homemade modeling dough, click on the following link: http://www.educatall.com/page/911/Jell-O-Modeling--and-Cookie--Dough.html.
I used store-bought modeling dough because I didn't have time to make my own.
Drinking straws and skewers: Consider the ages of the children when picking the type of tools you will offer. I used drinking straws when younger children were present and skewers with the group of four-year-olds. Whichever you decide to use, constant supervision will be necessary to avoid children using the straws or skewers as swords. It is also very important that children not walk around the daycare with them in their hands.
Pasta: Pick a type of pasta that, due to its shape, will be easy for children to thread onto the straws or skewers. Make sure the pasta pieces are big enough to fit over the accessories you are planning to use. I used larger pasta for use with the drinking straws and smaller pasta for use with the skewers.
For young toddlers
This activity can easily be adapted for young toddlers. However, you will have to stay very close to little ones and use drinking straws. Avoid using skewers due to their pointy tips. If they have one, give toddlers their pacifier to prevent them from putting the straws in their mouth.
Variation with or without skewersPasta and modeling dough are both great items for encouraging children to be creative. Even without drinking straws and skewers, this activity can be interesting for children. They will have fun combining them to create unique structures or simply pressing the pasta pieces in the modeling dough.
Tracks in the doughChildren also enjoyed rolling the larger pasta pieces in the modeling dough to create tracks, much like car tracks.
Chantal MilletteEarly childhood educator
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