There’s something so entrancing about a big box of buttons. You just want to play with them, stacking them and sorting them in endless ways. That’s what makes buttons so terrific for learning! Try some of these button activities to help kids build fine motor skills, work on math, make cute crafts, and much more.
Note: Smaller buttons can be a choking hazard and might require supervision.
1. Master buttoning skills
This is a task that some kids master with ease, while others struggle. This easy DIY button activity gives kids plenty of practice with buttoning and unbuttoning.
Learn more: It Happens In a Blink
2. Make button sorting cups
Pair brightly-colored buttons with matching containers that have slits cut in the lid. Kids practice identifying colors and sorting, plus get fine motor practice from pushing the buttons through the openings.
Learn more: About Family Crafts
3. Play a game of tic-tac-toe
This sweet activity combines a game of tic-tac-toe with fine motors skills, since each playing piece is buttoned into place. Clever!
Learn more: Frog in a Pocket
4. Add and subtract with Pete the Cat
Think of buttons, and you just might think of Pete the Cat. There are lots of button activities inspired by Pete, like this one that has kids adding and subtracting his groovy buttons.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
5. Explore a button sensory bin
Fill a bin with buttons and make several containers to hold them. Then give kids a variety of ways to pick up the buttons, like tweezers or spoons. It’s a fun way to build fine motor skills.
Learn more: Toddler Approved
6. Spin a button whirligig
Here’s a classic toy that celebrates the ingenuity of simpler times. Learn how to make your own whirligig at the link.
Learn more: Heaps of Laundry
7. Build a button tower
STEM challenges are fun for all kids, and this one is perfect for the youngest learners. Using only buttons and Play-Doh, how tall of a button tower can you build?
Learn more: The Educators’ Spin On It
8. Spell with button letters
Use buttons to make letter shapes and even spell out your name or sight words. If you like, you can glue them into place for cool artwork too.
Learn more: No Time For Flashcards
9. Create a cute cupcake
Speaking of cool artwork, how adorable are these button cupcakes? We’ll take a baker’s dozen, please.
Learn more: Busted Button
10. Whip up some button bookmarks
These button bookmarks could not be easier to make, and you can have such fun personalizing them. These would make great gifts for your class at holiday time.
Learn more: The Inspiration Board
11. Count with button mittens
There are lots of counting button activities, but this one with mittens is one of our favorites. (You could even turn the wristband at the bottom into a 10-frame.)
Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool/Mitten Button Counting
12. Decorate a button tree
Twist a pipe cleaner tree and then add bright buttons to its branches. Challenge older kids to build the biggest tree they can!
Learn more: Live Like You Are Rich
13. Cover beginning letters with buttons
Pass out these free printable playing boards and give each child a handful of buttons. As you say a word out loud, students decide what the beginning letter is and cover it with a button. Play it like bingo to find a winner!
Learn more: Book By Book
14. Race button clothespin cars
These clever little cars are perfect for imaginative play along the roads of a pretend town. Kids will love experimenting with button sizes to make the fastest car.
Learn more: Crafts by Amanda
15. Use cardboard tube trees to sort
Sorting is one of the most popular button activities, and we like this unique twist. Make cardboard tube trees, then sort the buttons into their trunks.
Learn more: Toddler at Play
16. Learn how to sew buttons
Don’t overlook this simple but important skill! Use plastic canvas with large holes, along with yarn and blunt needles, to teach kids how to sew on a button.
Learn more: Play to Learn Preschool/Sew Buttons
17. Put together a colorful turtle
This adorable little guy is just too sweet to pass up! He’s made using an old CD, lots of buttons, and some googly eyes.
Learn more: Fireflies and Mudpuppies
18. Stack buttons with toothpicks
Button stacking is fun on its own, but when you add Play-Doh and toothpicks, you can build your towers into much higher skyscrapers!
Learn more: Coffee Cups and Crayons
19. Graph with buttons
Grab a big handful of buttons from the box. Then sort the buttons by size, shape, or color and use them to make a graph.
Learn more: My Joy-Filled Life
20. Craft a button caterpillar
This craft is easy enough for all kids to do, and they’ll have lots of fun sorting through the button box to make the patterns of their caterpillar.
Learn more: Factory Direct Craft
21. Bounce some button springs
These buttons on springs are so much fun to play with! Turn this into a STEM challenge by asking kids to alter the size and shape of their springs to see which can bounce the highest.
Learn more: Lalymom
22. Button up a picture
Buttoning skills practice takes on a new dimension when you have kids match shapes to a picture, then button them into place.
Learn more: Toddler at Play
23. Lay out button patterns
Simple button activities like this encourage kids to recognize patterns and build fine motor skills by placing the buttons properly on the page.
Learn more: Learning 4 Kids
24. Match button colors and shapes
You might call this an “advanced sorting” activity. Use a grid to get kids to sort buttons by several characteristics at once—color and shape.
Learn more: Walking By The Way
25. Button together a chain
What a cool way to work on buttoning! These felt strips can be interlinked into a chain.
Learn more: COTA Mom
26. Assemble a button bowl
We love kid crafts that are actually useful too. Button bowls are surprisingly easy to make and will look cute storing small items in a child’s room.
Learn more: Ideas 2 Live 4
Looking for more low-cost learning ideas? Try these 30 Clever and Colorful Pipe Cleaner Crafts and Learning Activities.
Plus, 26 Wood Craft Sticks Projects and Ideas for the Classroom.