Button Sorting

buttonsorting Manipulatives are so exciting to preschoolers. They are fascinated by bright colorful buttons. With this activity, preschoolers will learn the skill of sorting by a number of categories.


  • To develop sorting skills
  • To promote color recognition skills

Before You Start: Gather several metal canisters and magnetic labels. (Using magnetic labels will allow you to use the same canisters while switching the sorting categories easily. Alternatively, you can use cardstock, tape and markers for labels.) Have on hand a set of buttons in an assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. Depending on the sorting category you want to start with, for instance, if you want the children to sort the buttons by color, label the canisters accordingly – draw a blue button on one magnetic label, a red button on another, a green button on another label, and so on until you have all button colors accounted for. Then, stick each label onto its own canister.

Let's Get Started! Step 1. Set out the entire assortment of buttons on a table.

Step 2. Set out the canisters labeled by category, in this case, color.

Step 3. Have the children sort buttons by picking a button and dropping it into the canister labeled with the color that matches the color of the button selected.

Step 4. Prepare more labels and canisters for additional sorting categories, such as number of button holes, shapes, and size and have children sort by those characteristics by matching each button to its appropriate canister.

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