All tied up in knots

Tying knots is very challenging for preschool age children and so today we “loosely” explored the process of tying a knot together…

Even though not all of my students were quite able to master this process, we did have some amazing teamwork and support for one another that made this process far more rewarding than just tying knots…

Before everyone got their own length of rope to work with, we had a group discussion on using rope safely in the classroom and we set a few rules to keep us safe too. Then we took turns feeling two kinds of rope – silk and plastic. We discovered that silk rope is softer and plastic rope is more slippery….

After our discussion and chance to feel rope, I gave each child their own piece of rope and together we walked through the process of trying to tie a knot…

We crisscrossed the ends of our rope and then worked to figure out which end of rope needed to go through the loop. Okay – I won’t kid you but this was quite confusing to explain to the children but most of them figured it out by simply exploring the process on their own…

Our older students really started to get the hang of it…

And some of our younger students caught on too…

And those who had mastered the knot tying process stopped to help their friends figure it out too…

Whether everyone mastered the knot tying process today didn’t matter because what my students are mastering is how to care about one another – now that is priceless!

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By |2012-03-19T16:00:25+00:00March 19th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Karen March 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Great idea! Will practice with my own kiddos in schools. Thanks! K.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      That’s wonderful Karen!

  2. Asiya March 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    Another great idea! Now just need to get a rope 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      I picked up rope from Lowes:)

  3. Ann March 20, 2012 at 6:36 am - Reply

    What a NEAT idea! I will try this activity soon…Thanks for all your great ideas…you have made my teaching more exciting…

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I am so happy you are having fun teaching Ann!

  4. YourTherapySource March 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    One more post to pin on the occupational therapy board – are you sure were never an OT??? haha! Love this idea of exploring knots. Thanks for your creativity.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      I am thinking that what we do in early childhood would naturally fall in line with the things you all do in OT 🙂 We all want to build those fine motor skills!

  5. [email protected] March 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post about knots. I really like that you have used a white rope that stands out on the carpet making it easier for the children to see.

    What is empowering is that tying knots is a life-long useful skill. I look forward to seeing where the children take the learning from here.

    Thanks for sharing and mentioning my blog post too.

  6. School Sparks Renee March 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    What a fantastic idea. This really gets those little ones ready to tie their shoes. A great lesson that enhances cooperation, fine motor practice and problem-solving. Kudos!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      We have been continuing our rope adventures too! Today, we worked on jump roping – talk about too funny. Such a hard thing to do!

  7. handinhand August 25, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I LOVE all of your great ideas and use them regularly in my home preschool. Thank You for all you do and all of your hard work & dedication. You are an inspiration to me.
    I also thought that you could use the rope to make shapes. You could say the shape & the kids could make the shape or for younger children you could show them the shape on a card. You could also do this with letters but most letters would take more than 1 rope.

  8. […] Knots Before any project that will require knot tying, consider borrowing an idea from this article by Deborah Stewart at  Purchase a large spool of rope and engage the whole class in knot tying […]

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