Monday, December 8, 2008

button sorting/counting

One of the things I love
most about teaching
is that I'm able to be


oops... that was more than one!

As many of you Montessorians can relate, your eyes no longer see material objects for what they are, but for all the many purposes they could fulfill. This is not always so great if you're a pack rat like me. I do eventually find some sort of use for most things... hubs, if you're reading this, really, I promise...

Anyway, this lesson started as an empty water color tray. At first, I thought it would be perfect in a tonging lesson... paired with extra large pom poms or something. Then, my mind wandered to the dish of buttons in the art closet, just waiting to be used.

Here's what I ended up with:

** an empty water color tray labeled with the numerals 1-8 ( 1-9 would be better)
** a box of various buttons - quantities of different kinds from 1-8 (for example, 1 gray flower, 2 big pink, 3 black leaf)

The child sorts one particular kind of button out of the box. She lines them out across the table and counts from left to right. Next, she finds the corresponding numeral on the tray. This is where she'll place the buttons she's just counted.

At first, I thought I'd just have the children count the buttons out according to the numerals on the tray. I figured that they'd naturally want to sort them, though, so I counted out different quantities of each type of button. The lesson still works if the child just counts the buttons without the sorting, but I like the control of error the various types of buttons provide. For example, if the child ends up getting 5 of two different kinds of buttons, she'll know she miscounted or missed sorting out one of the buttons in the box.

Also, don't you just LOVE buttons? They're so juicy! Abbie, I know you'll appreciate this post. :) This photo is of a bracelet from Asta Dog Vintage. I haven't met her yet, but she lives in my town AND I love her button jewelry. It's all over in the shops around here. Check her out at etsy. I'm waiting to buy one of her bracelets because she sometimes gives classes at Tart... X-tine? Christy? Beth? Suz?


  1. I really like this activity! As you know I am a mom (I have actually started spelling mum the american way, does that mean I spend to much time on line?) and I have a growing intrest in Montessori, just getting bits of info fom blogs, but my head works like that too. Always thinking. I remember walking through an Ikea with Egg's dad and I was spinning a lazy suzan and he asked what I was doing and I said thinking what I could use it for! He asked me why I couldn't just accept that it was a lazy susan ha! Right now I have a little six holed tray that was actually the packaging of a pack of cakes! And I adore buttons as well, when I was a kid my mom would let me play with her button box which was a beautiful fabric cottage :0)

  2. I have a friend with an etsy button shop! :)

  3. Hey...I know you are busy and tired of kids farting on you but it's time for another post!!!! People are waiting!!!

  4. I like that button sorting activity, I think with my daughter's age I had better stick to only four or five compartments though.


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