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Inexpensive and Easy Activities for Toddlers—Series. Post 2: Buttons

Inexpensive and Easy Activities for Toddlers—Series. Post 2: Buttons

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This is the second post of Inexpensive and Easy Activities for Toddlers Series. Today’s feature: Buttons!

How many times have you spent more time preparing an activity for your toddler than they actually do engage in it? With this list of activities, you can do with a few pipe cleaners and buttons, all you need to do is get out the supplies once and they will get hours and hours of entertainment. When your little one tires of one activity, use the exact same supplies for the next one!

I’m known for being a bit of a craft supply hoarder. I will hang on to anything I use for any type of project and find endless ways to repurpose it for other activities. My supply backstock comes in handy for entertaining small children. They love textures and creative uses for unique objects.

Another good reason for reusing simple materials in many ways is to get the best bang for your buck time-wise.

Last time I talked about reusing the same materials in many ways cuts down on cost, and that’s definitely true. Today’s post is a continuation of a series about using cheap supplies to do easy toddler activities (see the last post for 20 ways to use tape).


The main supplies you will need are pipe cleaners and buttons. Some “around the house” items I used include Ziploc bags, art trays, permanent markers, tape, paint, playdough, and salt. Note that the around the house items can be substituted or left out, depending on what you have on hand.

Small Parts – Choking Hazard

A warning. These activities include buttons, which are a choking hazard. The activities below are not appropriate for young children or toddlers that put things in their mouths.

Ten Toddler Activities With Buttons and Pipe Cleaners

  • Button Tree Twist several pipe cleaners together to create a tree. Tape it to the bottom of a bin or onto a table or the floor and let your toddler decorate the tree with buttons.


  • Button Bag Cut a Ziploc bag in half or use plastic wrap and tape a square onto a tray, the floor, the high chair or a table. Before sealing the fourth side down, use a permanent marker to draw circles on the bag that correspond to button colors. Fill the bag with buttons and tape the last side down.


  • Button Stamping Give your toddler some playdough and let them stamp button patterns into the dough. Encourage them to notice the difference between shapes, sizes, and patterns. They can make faces, flowers or other designs with their stamping. If you don’t have playdough you could send them outside to the dirt or mud or use a homemade playdough recipe.
  • Button Printing This one’s a little messier but so fun! Let the kids dip buttons into washable paint and make print paintings and fun patterns. 
  • Button Tray Fill a tray or shallow bin or cookie sheet or pan with sand, salt or flour. My kids did just this activity for over an hour today. The buried the buttons and then searched for them, created shapes, drew pictures and did math.

  • Button Stacking See how tall of a button tower you can make together. This is great for developing fine motor skills.
  • Button Threading Because the tower building will likely be too difficult for the littlest fingers, use the pipe cleaner to stack up your buttons. Kids love the experience of the tiny button holes sliding over the fuzzy pipe cleaner.

  • Button Patterns Make a pattern with buttons and have your child either copy the pattern or continue it. You can do this activity on the table or floor, or build the patterns on strands of pipe cleaner.

  • Button Counting Depending on the developmental stage of your toddler, you can have them simply count buttons or practice adding and subtracting buttons. You can also play games, asking them to identify certain amounts and colors such as “how many purple buttons,” etc.

  • Button Matching Take turns playing a game where you choose a button and they find the match, and then reverse roles. This is especially fun when you have a set of buttons with many unique colors and shapes.

Bonus Activity

You can also use beads in the same way. Beads work with the pipe cleaners like buttons do.

Inexpensive and Easy Activities for Toddlers Series

Post 1: Tape


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Inexpensive and Easy Activities for Toddlers Series: Buttons

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