Have a lot of loose buttons lying around the house? Put them to use! Leftover buttons are the perfect tool for tactile math games and art projects. Children are attracted to the bright colors and shapes of buttons, so they're perfect for teaching important concepts like sorting, counting, and patterning. Here are four ways to turn those loose buttons into an easy and positive learning experience. Button up!
An assortment of buttons (from your own collection or a bag at the craft store)
Sheet of construction paper or card stock
What You Do:
Sort the buttons. Dump the buttons onto the table or floor. Point out all the pretty colors and different sizes. Can she put them into separate piles? Have her sort them by color first, then by shape, and then by size. Can she sort by two descriptors: color and size?
Count the buttons. How high can she count? Have her drop the buttons into a bowl while counting. This will help her with one-to-one correspondence. Make sure what she says matches the corresponding button.
Button Patterns. Show her an AB pattern, such as red, blue, red, blue… Can she continue the pattern? Can she make other AB patterns? How about an ABC, or other three-colored pattern?
Make a Button Letter. Using the glue, write the first letter of her name on the construction paper. Have her glue the buttons on. Now she has a tactile letter to trace with her fingers. Make more letters as your child encounters them in school or at home, and she'll learn the alphabet in no time!
Tina Cho has been an elementary teacher for 11 years, mainly in the kindergarten classroom. She is currently a freelance writer.