Introduction: How to Teach Kids to Tie Shoes by Maria Bischel

Whether you are a teacher, parent or just happen to be around kids, tying shoes is often a difficulty that arises. I thought that a resource with a video and step-by-step written and picture instructions, would be useful for both the adult (teaching how to tie shoes) and the child. The child will be able to look at the pictures and the adult can get ideas about how to clearly explain the steps to the child. To add more perspectives, I included pictures of both a child and an adult tying a shoe.

Though there are several different ways to tie shoe, I chose the "Bunny Ears" method because it give the kids a fun image to relate to that can help them remember the steps more easily. I also included instructions for double knotting, since kids often need to double knot their shoes.

If you are a teacher, you know that it is important for your students to gain this skill. By tying their shoes, kids can demonstrate that they have met learning standards. Specifically, the ability to tie shoes fulfills standard Pa6 of the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards for 3-5 year olds. This is the standard concerning small muscle development that requires students to, "Coordinate the use of hands fingers and wrists to manipulate objects and perform tasks requiring precise movements."(1) Shoe tying is a manipulation that seems to clearly demonstrate the development of this standard.

Other Resources

Red Lace, Yellow Lace by Mark Casey and Judith Herbst

When I taught my little sister how to tie her shoe I found this book extremely helpful. It has different colored laces actually attached to the book, as well as pictures and a rhyming text to guide the child.

I Can Tie My Own Shoelaces by Oakley Graham

This was another book that I felt would be helpful. Like the previous resource, this book also has a rhyming text. However, this book provides three different ways to tie shoes so that kids can choose which way they like best.

(1) Ohio’s Early Learning & Development Standards • p.7

Step 1: Start With the Laces Straight on Either Side of the Shoe.

Step 2: Cross One Lace on Top of the Other.

Step 3: Tuck the Right Lace Under the Left Lace.

Step 4: Continue Pulling the Right Lace All the Way Through (no Loops Yet!) While Holding on to the Left Lace.

Step 5: Pull Out on Both Laces to Tighten.

Step 6: Make a Loop (Bunny Ear) on One Side of the Shoe. Hold the The Lace Higher Up With One Hand and Pinch It Together at the Bottom With the Other Hand.

Step 7: Make Another Loop/ "ear" on the Other Side (don't Let Go of the First Loop!).

You might have to do this one handed since you don't want to let go of the first loop.

Step 8: Cross One Loop/ "ear" Over the Other Loop.

Step 9: Tuck the Same Loop That You Crossed Over Top Under the Other Loop.

Step 10: Pull Out on Both Loops to Tighten. You Are Finished! (Continue to the Next Step Only If You Want to Double Knot Your Shoe.)

This can be tricky for kids. Make sure you pull with the same amount of force on both sides, otherwise you might pull your loops out or get only one loop!

Step 11: Cross One Loop Over and Under the Other and Pull It Through.

This is almost exactly like Step 8, 9 and 10, but kids don't always realize that! Once you show them this step, point out it is the same as before so that the have less to remember.

Step 12: Pull Out on Both Loops to Tighten.

Again, make sure you pull the same amount on both sides.

Step 13: Finished! (Tied and Double Knotted)

Step 14: Additional Video