I bought a variety pack of buttons at Wal-Mart for about six dollars. First, I let Tot drop them into the cups of a muffin tin. I tried to have him sort them by color, but he couldn’t care less about that activity. He just had fun grabbing them up in his fist and dumping them willy-nilly into the compartments. After several minutes the newness of the buttons wore off, and I was able ask him some questions about color and introduce the concepts of big and little. Then I gave him a plastic spoon with which he scooped up the buttons and dumped them back into the tin. Working with the spoon helped him refine his fine motor skills.
Because he was still enjoying the buttons, I decided to move on to another activity that would work his fine motor skills. Using an empty sprinkle container as a base, I stood up pieces of dry spaghetti so that Tot could practice threading.
Tot also learned that while Mom didn’t let him put the buttons in his mouth, she didn’t care if he ate the spaghetti which made the activity more fun. In all, the buttons were a rousing homeschooling success. The kind of educational experience where everything goes as expected: the child learns, the mother feels accomplished, and the angels weep.
Through this guided play, Tot reviewed his colors, was introduced to the concepts of big and little, and strengthened his fine motor skills. Most importantly, he was entertained for about twenty minutes which, for a mother, is an eternity.