The Frugal OT Series: Lace My Heart!

February’s Dollar Tree Activity of the Month: Lace My Heart

This craft is super sweet! Hearts that are laced and adorned with pony beads. A great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Once complete, children can write an endearing message to their special family member or friend. All you need is a package of foam hearts (one package goes a long way, containing 12 foam hearts each), a spool of yarn, and a package of pony beads. Many fine motor skills are addressed in this fun Valentine’s Day-themed activity. Perfect to do during therapy sessions, as a class, and/or at home. All the supplies can be gathered for pennies on the dollar at your local Dollar Tree.

Skills Addressed:

  • hand strengthening
  • hand separation
  • bilateral coordination
  • eye-hand coordination
  • spatial relations
  • pressure grading (how much force to apply; when using paper hole punch)
  • grasping skills (pincer and 3-jaw chuck or tripod)
  • visual scanning and tracking skills
  • executive functioning skills

Side Note: Lacing is a great way to build executive functioning skills. Children must follow multi-step directions and be able to sequence the steps. They must tap into their working memory skills to remember and carry out the method used to lace the heart. The sequence they must follow is to lace up through the top, string a bead, then lace down through the bottom. This is a great challenge for some kiddos.

Lace My Heart

Dollar Tree Supplies Needed:

foam hearts

metallic pony beads

yarn

Staples Needed:

paper hole punch

scissors

tape

Lace My Heart Supply List
Staples Needed

How To “Lace My Heart”:

It is always helpful to present the child with a model so that they can see what you expect them to do.

  • Draw dots along the border of the heart.
  • Use the paper hole punch to place a hole around each dot.
  • Lace the yarn through the first hole.
  • Use a piece of tape to secure the yarn to the back of the heart.
  • Make sure the yarn is coming out of the top side of the heart, then string a bead onto the yarn.
  • Lace the yarn through the back to hold the bead in place.
  • Continue lacing and stringing beads until you’ve reached the last hole.
  • Cut off the excess yarn and secure it to the back of the heart using tape.
  • Write an endearing Valentine’s Day wish or message on the front of the heart.
Frugal OT: Lace My Heart
Assembling Hearts

How To Offer the “Just Right” Challenge:

Grade Down (Make it Easier)

For younger or less skilled children:

  • If the child doesn’t have enough strength and coordination to handle the paper hole punch, present the task to them with the holes already punched.
  • Eliminate the beads.
  • Allow the child to follow a less complicated lace pattern as in the picture below.
  • If the child is unable to lace, punch only a few holes that are spread out along the border of the heart. Place tape around the end of the yarn to make it less pliable and easier to place through the holes.
How to Make it Easier

Grade Up (Make it Harder):

For older or more skilled children:

  • Challenge visual processing skills (spatial relations) by having the child, versus the adult, draw the dots around the border of the heart. Show them a model and have them try to copy it.
  • Have the child assemble the heart to match a model. Place a colored bead sequence on the model to challenge visual scanning and tracking skills. Present the task as a fun game by saying, “Can you make your heart match mine?”

Write a Message

I hope that you and your littles enjoy doing this activity. I’m pretty sure this sweet, homemade valentine will put a smile on the face of all its recipients.

As always, have fun!

Disclaimer: 

The Fun Strokes blog is designed for educational and informational use only for teachers, therapists, and parents. It is not intended as medical advice or therapeutic treatment that would be provided in an individualized treatment plan. If you suspect a child has delays, please consult an occupational therapist.

Published by Linda Craig Dennis

Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Author and Creator of Fun Strokes Pre-writing Program

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