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Hey, you know what’s really fun to play with? (Hint: it’s not the big toys that my kids found under the tree last month.) What’s really fun is making a robot out of an old box. Or yelling into a paper towel roll. Or banging on a pot with a spoon. I think sometimes we complicate activities for kids, when the simplest often rise to the top of the most-played list.
And a jar full of buttons is extra fun, apparently, because that’s what my kids have been playing with for the past week! Thus, this week’s toddler activity (that’s a great preschooler activity, too!)
Buttons, buttons and more buttons! There’s something about those colorful buttons* that just keeps the kids mesmerized for the longest time. Makes sense, I guess, if you think about how much kids love things like Polly Pockets, Barbie shoes and other tiny treasures.
Even if you don’t go so far as to make a game out of it, sifting buttons through little fingers seems to be a whole lot of fun in itself.
But we did make a game out of it, and it only took about 10 minutes to create. I wanted some way to work on color recognition with my almost-2-year-old, so I took half of a piece of posterboard and covered it with randomly sized colored blocks that would match the buttons for sorting. The perfect button board!
Not too many instructions here: To make the color blocks, I just cut shapes out of peel and stick foam sheets which are great because if someone kicks or bumps the board, the buttons won’t slide off. And no glue just makes things easier. Just cover the posterboard any way you like, as long as the colors match your buttons!
The board, along with 2 bags of assorted buttons, cost less than $10 overall. I was just aiming for different colors, but a good bag, like this assortment of Blumenthal buttons, will give you more than just a rainbow. You’ll get different shapes, textures and colors, with a few really unique buttons thrown in. Definitely an unexpected surprise for me, since I never bought a bag of buttons before.
This is why my 5-year-old has just as much fun as my 2-year-old when they play with their buttons. My little one sorts by color, while my big guy sorts by number of holes, patterns or just arranges the buttons in size order (like the red ones, above.) It’s a different game every time. Pure gold for mid-January (with a snowstorm approaching!)
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What’s your favorite simple or homemade toy?
*Of course, always supervise little ones closely as buttons can present a choking hazard.