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Preschool Button Activities to Make Learning Fun

Preschool Button Activities to Make Learning Fun
Find a bag of shaped buttons at your local craft store and turn that one bag of buttons into unlimited fun with 15 learning activities! There are so many different skills you can practice with these simple and fun button activities. From fine motor skills and counting to sorting and graphing, there are so many creative ways to make learning fun with a bag of buttons.

Sorting Buttons

Sorting Buttons

Sort the buttons by shape or sort the buttons by color. We used plastic lids as a sorting tool. You could also use a muffin tin, small bowls, or an egg carton to sort them into.


Counting Buttons

counting buttons
This simple button activity is a good way to practice counting and there are a variety of ways to set it up. Write a number and count that number of buttons into the tray. I used a this tray from the dollar store, but a muffin tin also works well for counting buttons. Paper plates with the number written on them are another option.

DIY Button Puzzle

DIY puzzle using buttons
Trace buttons on a piece of paper and challenge your child to match them up. You can make this in a variety of ways, from shapes overlapping to This is an easy activity to get ready and great for hand-eye coordination. It is small enough that it can be a busy bag or an activity to throw in your purse to use while you are waiting somewhere.

Trace a Letter

trace a letter with buttons


Draw a letter and challenge your child to trace it with the buttons. This is a fun way to start to noticing how letters are formed. Do this with each letter of your child’s name so they can start to get familiar with the letters of their name.


Patterning with Buttons

patterning with buttons

Make button patterns together. Start patterns and have your child finish each pattern. It is helpful to say them aloud as your child figures out what comes next. Start with simple patterns like square, heart, square, heart.


Button Matching

matching with buttons


Put a handful of buttons in front of your child. Challenge him to find any matches.


Fill a 10 Frame

Dice Game with Buttons

Make a grid (2 rows of 5) and roll the die to fill it up with buttons. Encourage your child to fill it in working from top to bottom and left to right. However, that is not the most important skill that they will be learning by working with a ten frame so don’t worry if they do it a different way. Ask preschool children questions like How many more do you need to win?


Button Stacking

threading buttons

Stick toothpicks into styrofoam. Stack the buttons onto the toothpicks by threading the toothpicks through the button holes. This is a tricky activity for little fingers, but great fine motor skill practice. Keep stacking them up to make a button tower.


One Button in Each Section

 sorting buttons

This is a fun button activity for younger children. It is great for one to one correspondence practice. You can use a tray like we did or an ice cube tray works great too. Roll a die to add counting practice.


I-Spy Buttons

I-Spy Buttons Game

This is so much fun! Start with a pile of lots of buttons. I spy a pink star. I spy a blue square. This is a great way to practice shape recognition and color recognition.


Tracing Foam Letters

balancing buttons
These foam letter shapes are a bath tub toy, but balancing buttons on top was fun. This activity strengthens hand muscles and pincer grasp. Which letter holds the most buttons?

Button Graphing

graphing with buttons
Grab a handful of buttons or a big button bowl and start sorting by shape or color. Then, line up the buttons to see which color or shape had more. By just grabbing a random handful, the outcome is different every time.

Lacing Buttons

lacing buttons
Make a bracelet, a button caterpillar, or sort and lace a certain shaped button with a pipe cleaner and buttons. Children can’t get enough of this simple fine motor activity.

Button Balancing

balancing buttons


Balance buttons on a craft stick is trickier than you might think and toddlers love the challenge.

Take Away

This critical thinking game is great for older children too. Line up 10 colorful buttons. When it is your turn you can take away 1 or 2 buttons from the row. The person that has to take away the last button, loses.

Sensory Bin

Buy a few bags of buttons as a base for a sensory bin. Put them into a large container and add pipe cleaners, string, and different bowls and cups. Add some large buttons too. Children will scoop and pour, sort, and lace.



These fun ideas and fine motor activities would go great with the book, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons (affiliate link).

Looking for great ways to use these buttons in a craft? Check out how to make this button snake using felt pieces, ribbon, and one button. Glue to My Crafts makes a button tree that starts with a hand print. Books and Giggles shows you how to make the Very Hungry Caterpillar out of buttons too.




Wednesday 20th of June 2012

I just bought these buttons and I will be using your activity ideas with my son next month! So excited!


Tuesday 19th of June 2012

This is a fantastic idea and I love the way that all the comments have extended on the activities. I have been thinking about buying some buttons for ages but they are so expensive may have a look on e bay for a batch. What annoys me more is that as a kid we used to play with a massive box of buttons but they were thrown out! Off I go to buy buttons you have inspired me.

Jennifer Dodge

Sunday 4th of March 2012

Cut a slot in a plastic lid and put them through: addition practice (put in 2, put in 2 more, how many are in there) plus fine motor practice for buttoning


Saturday 19th of November 2011

I too found a similar bag at Joann's and thought $5.99 really!? But bought them anyway since I had a coupon:) Now I know many ways to use them. Thanks for posting!


Wednesday 27th of July 2011

You could put one in a paper bag and lay out "choices" then give the child clues so they can figure out which shape it is (I have 4 sides etc).