Now that school has started we’re ready to welcome fall, and we always love to kick off fall with apple theme activities. This button worm lacing name activity is a hands-on way to help kids recognize the letters in their name and practice fine motor skills.
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We’ve had a traditional button snake inspired by Happy Hooligans for years. It’s a great beginner toy for threading and fine motor practice. Now that Tinker is able to thread that with ease I thought we’d try another variation to help her practice the movement for weaving and sewing activities.
- Red felt
- Green ribbon
- Two green buttons-bonus if you can find ones with holes like these!
- Sharp scissors
- Permanent marker
- Fray check (optional)
I was lucky to find these buttons in a set of green buttons I have from Walmart. The ribbon fit through them perfectly, so I did not need to do any sewing. I simple laced one end of the ribbon through the button holes, knotted it, and trimmed off the excess ribbon. If you fear the ribbon will fray, use Fray Check to seal it. Repeat this process for the other end of the ribbon.
Cut apples out of red felt. You’ll need as many apples as there are letters in your child name. If your child is a toddler or just beginning threading activities you may want to try a single hole in your apples and use this as a more traditional button snake activity like this button worm fine motor activity from Stir the Wonder.
However, if your child is ready for a little more, then label the apples with individual letters and cut small slits (large enough for the button to fit through) on both sides of the letter.
Time to Play
To get kids excited about the activity it’s fun to play up the “worm eating all the apples” concept. We love singing the song “5 Little Apples” where the worm eats all the apples from the tree, so Tinker and I sing this song before she does this activity. Then she likes to have her “worm” sneak up to the apples before gobbling them up.
You’ll need to model for your child how the worm likes to go in the first hole (sneaking in the apple to munch on it) and then come out the second hole. It may be tricky at first so practice together a few times. Remember this is a more challenging variation of threading activities.
As your child’s weaves the worm in and out of each apple the letters will show above the ribbon. And once the worm has eaten all of the apples in your child’s name he or she will be able to read all of the letters laced on the ribbon.
Ways to Use this Activity
Of course you can do this activity anytime, but here are a few ways it might come in handy:
- As a learning tray for free choice time
- As a busy bag for use in car line, restaurants or other wait times
- As a quiet time activity for kids who no longer nap
For more fine motor name recognition fun try our ping pong push name game.
GET A FULL WEEK OF APPLE THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
Help children learn more about apples in a playful hands-on way with the apple activities in this comprehensive set of lesson plans for preschool, PreK and TK classrooms. This apple theme preschool lesson plan pack can be used during the fall, back-to-school time, in conjunction with a fruit theme, aligned with exploring the letter A, etc. Watch this short video to see just a few examples of the types of activities and printables included in this set:
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
- Apple Number Cards (0-35)
- “Counting Apples” emergent reader
- “I See Apples” emergent reader
- Apple Letters (uppercase and lowercase in both red and green)
- Apple Life Cycle Cards (in color and b/w)
- Label the Apple Diagram (in color and b/w) with labeling cards
- Apple Pattern Cards
- Put the Apples on the Tree Game Mat
- Editable cover and pages for a class apple book
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