Teach kids how to button by using this fun and simple button kit!
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So many kids struggle with learning how to complete clothing fasteners, including zippers, belt buckles, hook fasteners, and…often the most challenging of all…buttons!
Today, I’m sharing my favorite activities and tools for teaching kids how to button. For some kids, I’ve even put some of these activities together in a box, sending them home as a button kit for extra practice!
DIY Button Kit: 10 Activities to Teach Kids to Button
1 || Buttons or coins and an empty plastic container
This is such a simple and cheap addition to a button kit and it’s a great warm-up activity to get little fingers ready for the task. Simply cut a slit in the top of a clean, empty plastic container.
Have kids place buttons or coins into the container by pushing them through the slit. Once they get good at it, have kids race against a friend! Make the slit wider for kids who are just getting started and then gradually move to a very narrow slit so kids have to push a little harder to get the coin or button through.
2 || Tearing paper
Tearing paper is great for building hand strength and for helping kids practice using two hands together. Have kids tear small pieces of colored paper to make a mosaic.
3 || Stringing beads
Another great fine motor and bilateral activity for little ones. A perfect warmup for buttoning! No beads? Cut a straw into pieces and string the pieces onto a pipe cleaner!
4 || Lacing cards
Just a little more bilateral fun!
5 || Buttons and play dough/putty
Pushing buttons into putty or play dough and pulling them back out again is another great hand strengthening activity and helps kids practice the motion of pushing and pulling buttons through button holes. If you don’t have buttons on hand, any small manipulative would work – including pennies!
6 || Button flip
Place buttons flat on the table and have kids turn them over one at a time. Use larger buttons and put stickers on each button so they’re revealed as the buttons are flipped over. Or make your own memory game by putting pairs of stickers on the buttons.
7 || Button snake
Once the child has gotten lots of good prep work and practice with the activities above, it’s time to move on to actual buttoning and a button snake is a great way to start. Simply sew a button to the end of a length of wide, sturdy ribbon. Cut several circles or other shapes out of felt and cut a slit in the middle of each. Prompt the child to button each of the shapes onto the ribbon to make a “snake”.
8 || Loose buttons and button board
This is probably my favorite way to practice pre-buttoning. Rather than jumping right into a button board, first have kids try passing loose buttons through the buttonholes the board. They can get the motion down before facing the challenge of fastening buttons that are sewn to the fabric.
9 || Regular button board
Finally, it’s time to get some practice with the real thing. A button strip is a nice way to start because it’s smaller and less bulky than practicing on actual clothing.
10 || Practicing buttons on clothing that is off the body
And last, but not least…before kids start practicing on the clothes they’re wearing, have them try buttoning a shirt or sweater that’s lying on their lap or on the table in front of them. It’s easier to see and easier to manage.
For Virtual Sessions
Many of the ideas above would make great virtual therapy activities. Ask parents/caregivers about which of the materials they have on hand and make adaptations as needed (no buttons? use pennies!). Then, provide instructions and modeling for each of the activities. Based on which materials families are most likely to have available at home, these would make the best fit for virtual sessions: #1, 2, 3, 5, 6 10.