Button, button — who’s got the button tin? You mumble to yourself as you look for buttons to replace a button on a shirt. Could it be that your preschooler has dumped the contents of the tin on his bedroom floor? Buttons may seem a necessity of life, but to your preschooler buttons represent a world of colors, textures, shapes and questions.
Reading About Buttons
Reading a story aloud to your child is a good way to relax and make learning easier. You can help get your preschooler get ready for school activities — such as math and the communication skills in group discussions — by reading aloud and discussing a story like the “The Button Box” by Margarette S. Reid. It might remind you of when you were little and learned to count and sort by playing with buttons or other favorite objects. The story is about a young boy who does just that while playing with his grandmother’s button box. He organizes the buttons in many different ways while remembering stories his grandma told him. Go ahead and tell your kids stories about favorite counting games you remember, like playing school with stuffed animals. In kindergarten, which isn’t all that far away, they’ll learn to call this “making a connection.
“Becoming a Math Whiz
You can help your child become a math whiz by playing together in ways that encourage early math skills, such as counting, estimating, creating patterns and making comparisons. Buttons are for more than closing sweaters. They are inexpensive, colorful toys that you can organize, and say things like “Look, I’ve got five red buttons” or “That’s an unusual shape. Do you have any more buttons that are square? What other shapes do you have?” or “Wow. That’s a lot of buttons. How many do you think you have?” Make a pattern and ask your child what should come next. Say something like, “Red, blue, yellow, red, blue… what comes next?” Soon, your kid will be showing you how to sort by differences and similarities, making guesses before counting and creating colorful patterns. Along the way, ask her how she made her choices. This encourages talk about reasoning, a vital math skill, and reinforces the important belief that her thoughts are worth sharing.
Playing Make Believe
If your preschooler no longer stuffs toys in his mouth to test their shape and texture, you may feel safe letting her play with buttons solo. So, if she pretends to be a grocer and tries to sell you a red button as an apple, go ahead and say “Yum! Yes, I want three.” Just don’t put one in your mouth when you pretend to munch on it. You can encourage the connection between imagination and symbolic thinking by drawing a simple tree shape and placing a group of six or less red buttons on it. Say, “My tree has six apples. How many do you want?” Then you play a game taking turns as owner of the tree, giving some apples away and counting what’s left. “Not fair,” you can say. “I only have two left. You have more.
What can we do?”Creating Jewelry
Your son loves to string buttons to make bracelets and necklaces for you. It’s good exercise for his tiny fingers. But make sure you have plenty of buttons with large-enough buttonholes for easy threading so he doesn’t get frustrated. Dare to wear these fine creations with your work clothing so your son will be proud of his creative abilities. Put on the jewelry now! It will make life easier when your son is in fourth grade and needs to create his own zoo panorama without asking you to cut, color and glue it.
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