Sewing cards are great for teaching basic sewing skills and improving fine motor control. Young children enjoy imitating grownup activities and, since sewing cards feel like real work to a child, they fit the bill perfectly.
Sewing cards are simply sturdy shapes with pre-punched holes your child can use to practice sewing. You can buy them at most toy or craft stores, but it's more fun to make them together.
One advantage of making your own sewing cards is that you can customize the shapes to your child's interests. If your child loves trucks, you could make sewing cards in the shape of a dump truck, bulldozer, or fire engine. If your child loves horses, you could make sewing cards depicting horses in different stances. Seasonal sewing cards such as ornaments, pumpkins, or heart are also fun. If your child is very young or easily frustrated, start with easy to stitch shapes such as a beach ball, a star, or a house.
If you aren't up to drawing your shapes free-hand, use the internet to search for coloring pages on your theme. Look for simple designs to use as templates. Cut out your template and place it on a sheet of cardboard. You could also use colored cardstock; the resulting sewing card will not be as sturdy, but it will work for a one-time project. Trace your template and cut it out. If desired, your child can color in the shape with markers or crayons. If you want to make the card last longer, you could laminate it at this point.
Use a hole punch to make holes at even intervals, about 1/2 inch apart, all around the card. Cut a long piece of yarn for your child to sew with. Wrap one end of the strand with tape to make the sewing easier. Make a knot at the other end of the yarn to keep it from pulling through.
Now you're ready to sew! Poke the yarn up through one hole, pull it through until the knot catches, bring it over to the edge of the card and under, and poke it up through the next hole. Younger kids will probably sew rather haphazardly, but eventually they will catch on. The cards can be saved when they are done, or unlaced for another time. When your child becomes proficient at sewing the cards, try adding a plastic needle to the end of the yarn.