Friday 20 February 2015

Numeracy with buttons


My children have developed a love for buttons. They love to sort through them and look at all the different shapes, sizes and colours. Sometimes they stow a few away - for safe keeping I'm sure. They place them in pockets and tell me they are treasure! It's a wonder they can find such excitement in playing with such a simple object!


First we tried a sorting activity. I placed a dish with compartments on a tray and placed a bowl of buttons next to it. I purchased this mixed bag of buttons from Hobby craft for just £1 and the kids have had so much fun with the buttons. This activity was set up for R, who is 2.5 years old, as it's more for his age group, but D came over to look at the buttons too. It is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers but remember to watch them carefully if they are still at the stage of putting everything in their mouth. 


Sorting is a good way of developing early maths skills. It will encourage a child to think about the different properties of objects and learn to distinguish between objects that are the same or different. It can teach children to separate things into different groups by size, colour, shape etc. 


Next, I got D involved and asked the children to count the buttons in each group. We spoke about the groups; which group is biggest, which group is smallest, are any of the groups the same size? Then the groups were sorted in order from biggest to smallest. 


You could even do this with a group of buttons, as we did, if you have a mixed bag like these. Ask your child to take all the blue buttons for example and line them up in order from biggest to smallest. 


We spoke about the holes in the buttons. How many holes does each one have - one, two, three or four? Who would have thought there would be so many possibilities with just a simple bag of buttons?!



  1. What a great way to put discarded buttons to good use. I have a whole collection sitting in my sewing box. My kids are a bit too old for this sort of educational game now but for those whose kids aren't it beats forking out good money for a shop bought game. Tx

    1. Exactly, there is no need to spend lots of money on toys. Cheap and simple things work just as well.

  2. Sorting buttons is such great fun, little ones can sort them out by colour, by shape, and even try to make their favourite design out of buttons x

    1. Nice idea of making designs out of buttons. They really are great for so many things.

  3. This is such a great learning tool and sounds fun too. Learning works well when kids are having fun and want to do it more often.

  4. All kids love buttons, and this seems like a great idea for "treasures" as my girls would call them!


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