Learning To Tie Shoes With Healthy Proprioception



Im so excited to share this post with you because my son came up with it himself!




His idea came about after a discussion we had together about sliding on his knees in the classroom.  Now, sliding to sit on the circle time carpet is not really a big deal except that he was bruising his knees shins and legs.  He was also bumping into his friends and having to apologize several times a day.

Bumping into friends





He was being more than a typical rough little boy and that has a lot to do with having SENSORY PROCESSING  difficulties.  SPD makes it hard for him to know exactly how hard he is landing on his body when he slides and how close to his peers he is sitting.






Simply put, his body often needs doses of  HEAVY WORK to find itself in time and space so that he is not too close, too loud, or too rough ect.   

Heavy work raking leaves




Without regular heavy work PJ would have a very Dysfunctional PROPRIOCEPTIVE SYSTEM.  This is the system in our bodies that we rely on to relate to us where we are on a plane.  It helps us figure where our bodies are in relation to the world around us.  Not enough heavy work equals a very unsteady and bouncy PJ.  It causes him to seek touch or bump his surrounds so that he is alert enough to know where he is during times that he is asked to be still.






Sliding around on the carpet area (AND gym floor) before and during listening time was his way getting ready for circle time.  It provided sensory input for his joints and muscles the same as heavy work like climbing a tree or jumping in a mud puddle does for him at home.  

Heavy work healthy proprioceptive system Jumping in Mud puddles healthyproprioceptive system




Sliding on the carpet was his one last burst of energy to gear up for sitting still squished next to other students for long periods of time.. It was his “I’m ready for this!” moment.  But he was unaware that he was hurting himself and bumping into others until after the fact.  I wanted him to be more observant of what was going on when he slid to/on the carpet at school so we talked about the matter.



Just when I thought he wasn’t listening he walked me through this neat tutorial about how he could safely slid on the carpet:)



BONUS!!!  He learned how to lace shoes and practiced the life skill of tying shoes!


What you will need:

  • A thin cardboard box wide enough to fit little feet in
  • Scissors two different colored shoe strings
  • a child friendly hole puncher
  • Clear packing tape




He started by asking me to  1. CUT THE BOX IN HALF and put then put his feet into the cut halves.


I realized he wanted to make shoes so I helped him  2.CUT SHOE PATTERNS OUT OF BOTH BOX HALVES.  






Learning to tie shoes




He used a small hole puncher to  4. PUNCH HOLES FOR SHOE LACES

Learning to tie shoes image




I modeled how to  5. LACE A SHOE HOLE a few times.  Then, he completed lacing both shoe-boxes by himself!  He chose to use two blue shoe laces but it can be a help to use different colored shoe laces when teaching a child to “crisscross-cross and go under the bridge”

Learning to lace shoes




I spent a good bit of time 6. MODELING THE STEPS TO TIE SHOES.  

image image



Before he tried his sliding shoes out, I snapped a quick picture. Cute huh?!



And here he is sliding his little heart out WITHOUT bruising his knees:) It was the perfect alternate heavy work activity to sliding on his knees.  Sliding with his shoes encouraged him to remain upright when trying to slide on the carpet.  Sliding on carpet with regular shoes in this position is not possible.  It provided him with the muscle and joint stimulation he needed to have healthy proprioception and a keen awareness of sliding.  Plus, I loved how involved he was while learning a valuable life skill.

image image image



Linked Up With

Christian Montessori Network

“>Play And Learn Link Up


After School Activities Linky

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Teaching Mama

“>Everything Early Child Link Up



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Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂



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Hi! My name is Crystal. I am a mom of two. My daughter is 18. My son ,who attends public school, also needs a little extra help afterschool. This blog is all about how we keep learning fun at home as an extension of his school day and during school breaks.

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