The Beginning

Learning to tie shoe laces is a life skill that most people conquer as a kid. When my dad taught me to tie my shoes, I knew that was a big accomplishment. I remember purposefully untying my shoe in school, so my classmates could see my new skills.

As parents, we all have to teach our children this skill. I expected to teach my son around the age of five or six. However, due to his curiosity, I started introducing the concept to him as a two and a half year old.

Answering a Request

One morning, my son saw me tie my shoes and asked if he could do it. Instead of saying, “You will learn once you get older,” I showed him the first three steps in shoe tying. I held the two strings up, positioned them to make the letter x, put one string under the other, and pulled them both to make an initial tie.

We practiced this for a week until he finally knew these initial steps. Whenever I needed to tie my shoes, unless I was in a hurry, he would do those initial shoe tying steps for me. Then I became inconsistent in teaching him the remaining steps until two years later.

My son has a pen pal, named DJ, who lives in another state. They write letters to each other regularly. DJ’s mother texted me one day to ask if my son, Cory, can tie his shoes. I told her that he can do the initial three steps.

A Little Motivation

This text provided motivation to teach my son to tie his shoes fully. However, I needed to know if he was ready. He told me he was ready to learn.

I decided to use a creative learning method called Chain Linking to teach my son this skill in its entirety. Chain Linking is associating information with pictures and a story. In other words, I made up a fun story to describe the steps in tying shoes. Chain Linking created a desire in my son wanting to practice tying his shoes.

He learned the skills within a week at four-years-old. If you think this is too young, then check out this article about a two-year-old who could tie shoes.

Also I did not use the two bunny ears method that many parents use. I decided to teach my son the way my father taught me as a first grader.

The Story

Below is the Chain Linking story we used when Cory first learned to tie his shoes, called the Kingdom’s Shoe Tying Boy. You will also see a video of him tying his shoes while I am telling the story.

Once there was a boy who lived in a huge kingdom. He was the only one that could tie shoes. He was paid a lot of money to tie the king’s shoes. The boy took the king’s shoelaces and made the number 11. Then he made the letter X, put one string under the other, and pulled them. Next he made a loop and took the other string and choked his thumb. The boy pulled the string through the big hole, grabbed it, and he pulled!

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Below are some questions many parents have about kids learning to tie their shoes.

What age should a child be able to tie their shoe?

Most kids learn to tie their shoes at the age of five. This is when many kids start kindergarten and need to know how to dress and undress themselves independently. I personally did not learn until the first grade as a six-year-old. In kindergarten, I remember wearing shoes with velcro straps.


How do you tie laces for beginners?

I personally did not use a “beginners shoe tying” method to teach my son to tie shoe laces. We just took each step one at a time. Before practicing, we set a limit for the number of times my son would practice. For example, one day we said he would try three times. Most times, he wanted to try more than that. However, he knew he could stop at the number we set.

We used the steps featured in the video you saw above to learn.


How do you tie shoelaces so they don’t come undone?

I taught my son to double knot his shoelace. Once he ties his shoes, he takes the two loops or bunny ears and make an additional knot. This works well for us.

I hope this article was helpful for you!

Happy Shoe Tying!

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23 thoughts on “A Fun Way to Teach Kids to Tie their Shoes

  1. Each of my kids felt so big when they learned to tie their shoes! It is a very important life skill. I do find it somewhat amusing that my kids have taken to different methods to keep their shoes tied now that they’re older.

  2. Thank you for this! My son has been wanting to learn, and this is such a great step by step. I love the idea of practicing the until part until it’s mastered before moving on. Here we go…

  3. I’m going to use this with my daughter. She’s been learning to tie her shoes recently and I think this will help.

  4. A good reminder that I need to teach my daughter to tie her shoes!! She’s always just with Velcro, time for away from me! I’ll have to try this story and see if it helps her tie her shoes easier!

  5. It is awful that we have more and more parents choosing just to buy velcro or pull on shoes instead of teaching their children. I had a third grader who couldn’t, so I made time to teach him. He was so proud once he mastered it. I love the story and accompanying materials.

    1. Wow! You sound like a wonderful teacher. I know the parents were grateful for your efforts. Thank you for sharing.

  6. How cute! My daughter is nearing 2.5 I may introduce her to this, all of her shoes are velcro right now but she LOVES doing things herself so I think she’d enjoy this, thank you! Pinning for later!

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