How to teach kids to tie shoes

Tips and tricks for success

Learning to tie your shoes can be a significant accomplishment for a child and can usher them into developing a sense of independence themselves. But it can also lead to much frustration and tears for grown-ups and children alike. Try out these tips on how to teach kids to tie shoes to ease your child into learning this skill, and maybe it’ll even be fun!

There are many different ways to teach a child how to tie their shoes, and each of them has their success stories and their failures, only you will know which method will work best for them and you, so pick what works and stick with it! Or if you’re up to it, try them all!

Cardboard & Laces – Fine Motor Practice

Nannies, parents, and teachers will all have various teaching methods for tying shoes, but a tried and true method is NOT tying their shoes. Try cutting out shoe shapes, paint them, and everything!

Cardboard is your new best friend! Cut it up, punch some holes in it and grab some spare laces. Get the kiddos used to tangling laces up and down, in and out, of various holes. Make the activity fun! Check out the shoe-tying craft-practice board here. The sky’s the limit!

Books for Learning How to Tie Shoes

Books are a fantastic tool to introduce new concepts like how to teach kids to tie shoes. And for kiddos who process or learn differently, maybe hands-on cardboard right away isn’t the best approach. Read stories together!

Great books to read on how to teach kids to tie shoes:

Toys for Learning How to Tie Shoes

Toys are another excellent resource for learning and play. Combine the hands-on tactile functions and fine motor skills, disguised as a game for learning how to tie shoes.

Toys to play and learn:

Lace and Trace Farm Animals

Wooden Lacing Toys 
(fun shapes like apples/worms/food/etc.

Tying Shoes

Okay, you’ve read all the books, sang all the songs, cut up all the cardboard, and played with all the toys, and you’re finally ready to tackle the shoe-tying skill. You’ve got this! Here are the common shoe-tying methods:

Bunny Ears

Step 1: Take a lace in each hand. Criss-cross them into an X shape and pull them to tighten into a starting knot.

Step 2: Using one lace, create a loop that is floppy and big, like a bunny’s ear.

Step 3: With your other hand, do the same thing with the other lace, creating a second loop making two floppy bunny ears.

Step 4:  With both loops (ears) in your hands, take one side and wrap it around the other criss-cross.

Step 5: Pull both ears to tighten!

One Loop

Step 1: Take one lace in your hand and form a loop.

Step 2: Take the other lace and wrap it around the base of the loop.

Step 3: Pull from the base of the now connected laces, and as you pull, it will create two loops.

Step 4: Pull both loops to tighten!

Tips & Tricks for how to teach kids to tie shoes:

  1. Add colors or markers to their laces or two different colored laces to help them decipher which loop or lace is which.
  2. Sit behind them and teach them from their perspective instead of your own while in front of them.
  3. Use thicker laces that are easier to grab and control rather than flimsy or thin laces.
  4. Make up a fun rhyme or song to ease the stress and possible frustrations.

If they accomplish one or both of these methods, try teaching the importance of a double knot while running, jumping, or defying the best floor game: Lava for all-day secure shoelace play.

Carmen Ripley


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