Children will naturally begin to sort buttons by finding the ones they like or by sorting by color. While you're talking, you can mention and demonstrate other ways to sort the same collection, such as by size or shape or style or how they are used or what material they are made of (plastic, glass, etc). Learning how to identify small details, classify by certain attributes, and re-sort the same collection in several different ways are math concepts that teachers spend many classroom hours explaining. Your child can learn all of these concepts with novelty sewing buttons at the kitchen table many years before they reach the classroom. For bigger craft projects, you can buy buttons by the pound from catalogs or in craft stores.
Education stores or catalogs will also sell fake plastic buttons that are especially designed for teaching math skills. Your child will see plenty of these in school, but is not likely to see the endless variety of beauty available in real novelty sewing buttons unless you provide that at home. Real buttons are usually small and not allowed in most schools, for fear that children will eat them. If your child learns math concepts from real buttons at home, he or she will be well-prepared for the school curriculum.
Sewing buttons are small, portable and endless in variety. They are one of the very best tools for learning to sort and make patterns, which are both core math skill for young children to learn. They can also learn new words and skills about shapes, sizes, comparisons, counting, and making sets.
SPEAKING & LISTENING
Vocabulary is one of the best predictors of success in life. Buttons provide many chances to learn and use descriptive language.
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Picking up little buttons is tricky for the youngest children. There are also many craft projects and games to play with buttons that encourage fine motor skills.
Suggested books about buttons
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