Montessori Practical Life Lesson: The Lacing Dressing Frame

Today’s  Montessori practical life lesson features our last dressing frame: the lacing frame.

You can find all the dressing frame presentations here on Sugar, Spice and Glitter by browsing our practical life lessons.

Montessori Practical Life Lesson on the Montessori Lacing Dressing Frame - teach your child how to lace up shoes, skates, and clothing using the Montessori dressing frame lessons - check out the full collection of lessons.

Throughout our practical life posts, we have tried to provide a little insight into Montessori theory, as well as how one might present the various activities. Today I’ll say a little bit about the Montessori idea of the teacher’s role.

Dr. Montessori preferred the word “guide” over “teacher,” because she saw the adult’s role less as a direct instructor and more as a link between the child and the environment. We might sum up the teacher’s role as below.

The teacher:

  • prepares herself with knowledge of child development.
  • refines her observation skills and practices carefully observing the child.
  • matches the proper activities to the child’s interest and developmental needs.
  • determines when to present a lesson and how difficult it should be.
  • shows exactness and consistency in her presentations.
  • prepares the environment with appropriate activities, and keeps it orderly and replenished.
  • allows the child to work uninterrupted and watches for periods of the child’s concentration.
  • re-presents lessons as needed with an emphasis on “points of interest” or areas of difficulty.
  • offers encouragement, warmth, and affection.

As you can see, the Montessori concept of the teacher is as a facilitator, who, once having presented a lesson, steps back and observes. Now you can practice this principle with the lacing frame 🙂

Montessori Practical Life Lesson - the lacing dressing frame, check out the full collection of practical life lessons

How To Present the Montessori Lacing Frame


  • Direct: to develop the finger control and dexterity needed to manipulate laces.
  • Indirect: independence and concentration.

Material: a Montessori lacing frame (or you can make your own frames)

Age: 3 1/2+


  1. Beginning at the bottom, untie the bow by pulling each string, one right, one left.
  2. Holding the flaps down with one hand, untie the knot by wrapping your thumb and forefinger around the knot and pulling up.
  3. Lay the strings out to the sides.
  4. Using a pincer grasp, turn the left flap back to reveal the hole with the string in it.
  5. Using the opposite pincer grasp, pull the string out.
  6. Alternate in this way, until the whole string is removed. Show the string to the child as one long piece.
  7. Now reinsert the string: lay the string across the top of the table folded in half, with the tips at the center of the frame.
  8. Turn back the right flap with your right pincer grasp enough to reveal the hole.
  9. Use your left pincer grasp to insert the string; pull it a good way through with your right pincer grasp.
  10. Using opposite hands, insert the opposite side.
  11. Secure flaps with your left hand, take both tips in your right pincer and pull straight up until the tips are even.
  12. Cross strings over.
  13. Repeat steps 8-12 top to bottom.
  14. When you reach the bottom, tie a bow.
  15. Invite the child to try.

Points of Interest:

  • Does the child grasp the string tips each time, pulling them up to see that they are even?
  • Does she remember to cross the strings each time?
  • Does she insert the string into the opposite hole each time?

Note: For a fun and advanced extension, provide a pair of shoes with laces and invite the child to unlace and re-lace the shoes.


To learn more about Montessori theory, please visit Beth’s blog A Montessori Lexicon, and you can also find her on Teachers Pay Teachers.


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  1. Hello, I would like to know if I can use these activities in order to integrate them into an educational application?
    Thank you for your response in advance, best regards.

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