- buttons (with holes in the middle; craft buttons work great)
- uncooked noodles (thin enough to fit through the button holes)
- apple or orange (a piece of fruit) -optional
1. Explain by using the word ‘gentle/gentleness’ repetitively as you encourage your child to place buttons on a piece of uncooked noodle. (The noodles will break easily, so have several on hand.) Show your child that you need to hold it ‘gently’ so that it doesn’t break as you add the buttons. It is helpful to ‘gently’ stick one end of the noodle into a piece of fruit; the fruit allows toddlers to hold onto the activity and keep the buttons from falling off the opposite end.
(Little Brother with his Little Little Cousin.)
2. Challenge older toddlers/preschoolers to ‘race’ you or one another to see who can add the most buttons in one minute.
3. For children with stronger fine motor skills, have them hold one end of the noodle while placing the buttons on the other end. This is challenging because they must learn to balance the noodle with one hand; this is especially difficult as more buttons are added.
*Note: I love this activity for many reasons: it is adds a concrete example of a word that is often hard for young children to understand, it refines fine motor skills through both holding the tiny noodle and focusing their hand enough to fit the noodle through the button holes, it uses inexpensive/everyday household items, it’s easy to add adapt to fit the needs of your child, and it’s a great and easy way to teach gentleness to a ‘youngest’ child!
CAUTION: Be watchful when using small buttons with toddlers, as they can be a choking hazard.
A special thanks to CraftProjectIdeas.com for these great Craft Buttons we received in their “Rainy Day Kit”!