Buttons, buttons, and more buttons

I just love bright and colorful buttons and so whenever I happen to find a bag of them, I pick them up and save them. I finally found the perfect chance to share all the colorful buttons I had saved when I stumbled onto the book titled, “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Titwin and James Dean…

“Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” is such a fun book to read aloud with young children. It is basically a counting book with some simple subtracting along the way and it comes with a wonderful rhyme to chant or rap  while looking at the bright and colorful illustrations…

You can go online to the Pete the Cat website and download the audio recording of the book.  I burned the recording on a CD and added it to my listening center for the children to read the book on their own during center time. I will tell you that the rap sounded much cooler on the audio recording than my read-aloud version – but hey – I was trying to be cool like Pete the Cat!…

In addition to our listening center, we also set out a button collage center …

The children found glue, foam board squares, and buttons on the table to create with…

My students have become experts at using the glue bottles but to make the buttons really stick to that board, I encouraged the children to make big puddles of glue or their buttons would most likely fall off after they dry…

Once the children added their glue, then they added buttons on top of the glue and gently pressed down so the button would stick to the board.  The glue will dry clear in a couple of days, so we didn’t worry about if the glue came through the button holes…

Some of the children chose to add lots of buttons on their boards and others preferred to add only a few.  And some of the children chose to stack the buttons instead of just spreading them out on the board…

Once the children completed their button collages, then all that was left to do was to add their name onto the board…

Then the children put their button collages in the drying rack for the weekend. They should be dry when we get back to school next week…

For those of you who are wondering, I got some of my big, bright, and colorful buttons from the craft section at Walmart and some of them at Michaels…

In my next post, I will share with you a few other button activities we explored to extend our fun with “Pete the Cat and His Groovy Buttons…

Available on Amazon

By |2017-07-11T16:06:24+00:00October 27th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Debbie October 27, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    My children in Head Start love all of the Pete the Cat books. Some of them are “reading” them to their friends. Love your idea!

  2. Tammy October 27, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    I just found “Pete the Cat… I love my white shoes”, AWESOME book and cd set. The children get up and dance throughout the story and walk around singing it. Going to have to check out the rest of the “Pete the Cat” series. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jamie @ hands on : as we grow October 27, 2012 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Deborah — where did you get those buttons? I love the size and colors of them!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 27, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

      HI Jamie,
      I got them from the craft section in Walmart and some from Michaels:) I pick them up when I find them – especially if they are big and colorful!

  4. Susan Case October 27, 2012 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Great teaching lesson.

  5. Jackie October 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I love how this is so open ended. I also like how your students wrote their names on their artwork. It made me think of something that is going on in my son’s preschool. My son is in a 4 1/2 year old class and his teacher still writes his name on everything. I know he can write his name. It’s not perfect, but it is legible. Do you think I would be a crazy mom if I told her to stop writing his name for him? I’d love for him to get more practice with writing but maybe there is a reason for having the teacher write it?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Jackie,
      Often times, teachers get in the habit of writing names for the kids because they get in a hurry or are focused on staying organized or in some cases, because they don’t want the children to “mess up” the artwork. In my class, we have been encouraging the children to write their own names on their projects since the 2nd week of school. Some can only write one letter and some just make their “mark” which we have to learn to recognize. But now most of the children are clearly writing some of the letters in their name.

      Yes, I would politely ask your child’s teacher to encourage your child to write his or her own name on projects going forward. At age 41/2 I think your child is more than ready to start putting his own name on the artwork and other projects he is making or doing.

      Tell the teacher that even it is part of a name or even if the name makes the artwork look messy – you would love to see him write his own name. It will be an indirect way of documenting his progress and teaching your child writing and name recognition and staying organized all by himself.

  6. Christy October 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    We LOVE Pete! Thanks for a great extended the learning idea! We checked Pete out on YouTube to get the tune for the sons and watch the author and illustrator read the book live.

  7. marta sigurdson October 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Years ago I discovered something that has been so valuable we have a lot of doctors and nurses that send their children to the school I teach at..medicine comes with flip tops like in the ER,.and they are all different colors and sizes of cirçles. They save them …I wash them and we use them for sorting, buttons…and crafts….check into it..and he best they are free.

  8. Susie October 27, 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    I totally agree with Deborah. I teach 3’s and we encourage them to write at least the first letter of their name. At 4 1/2 they should definitely be writing their name on everything. I know I pre-write names on activities to make it easier to keep track of who still needs to finish a project but usually it’s small and in the corner on the back. I would suggest asking your child’s teacher to allow your child to add their own version of their name on the front of their work.

  9. Debs October 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Love this. so cute. They’re fabulous for sticking on the letter B for a letter study or even to do a canvas of your name. You’ve reminded me I really must buy more craft buttons. So fun and love the book you chose as well 😀

  10. Nancy Brunner October 29, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    Do you rotate stations or can the children do choose where they would like to work for the day? Do you make each child do the projects? How many days do you keep your stations out? It looks like you change them daily.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 30, 2012 at 12:33 am - Reply

      That’s an excellent question Nancy and one that I will do my best to answer for you. Let me share with you my general approach but keep in mind, I am flexible within that approach. If a process or station isn’t interesting to the children, I make adjustments or give myself permission to do what ever needs to be done to either change it or get rid of it as the day progresses…

      First of all, I do not have the children rotate stations. Instead, they choose where they want to begin and gravitate around the room until they have completed each work station. We start our morning out in large group and before I release the children to the centers, I share with them what is out for them to try and any guidance they may need to be able to do the activity – then I send them off to explore each area at their own pace.

      In my class, the children know that the activities I have set out on the tables are their “work jobs” that they should get to first and once they are finished, they can head off to any other center in the classroom of their choice. I make sure that I protect their free choice – in other words – the children know that they will have lots of time to head off to a favorite center or toy so they are not stressed about finishing fast their work jobs. I give them a reasonable heads up if I see a child is taking so long at a station that he might miss out on other things and he chooses whether or not that matters to him.

      There are many days, when I will find that one of my students skipped a work job for many different reasons. Perhaps he ran out of time, perhaps he just didn’t like the activity at all, or perhaps he simply forgot as he got busy playing. But for the most part, all of my students make it to every station.

      I usually have 3 work stations set up each day : 1. Something involving creative art 2. Something involving fine-motor (playdough, sorting, weaving, and so on) 3. The third station depends on how involved the other two are – I don’t want the stations to occupy too much of their time so the third station might be the listening center, alphabet jars, salt box writing or some kind of manipulative or game for the children to check out. Sometimes, there is not a third station simply because I know the other two stations will be all that we can possibly get through and still have time for free choices.

      In addition to our work stations, we have our regular centers that hold our everyday materials and then we have the extra things I bring in and set out on the table for each day. The table activities (work stations) are changed daily and are designed to be interesting, not too time consuming, hands-on, and a new experience, product, material, or process that I hope the children will be interested in trying or doing.

      Now, in our outdoor classroom (which we go to during the last half of our day) I modify items in the stations but for the most part, they are the same basic idea like sand, water, discovery table, easel. The children choose what they would like to do in the outdoor classroom and move from place to place and back again as they wish the entire time they are out there. The only time the children have work jobs is first thing in the morning.

      I hope this helps.

  11. Nancy Brunner October 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks Deborah 🙂 My dream is to visit you someday! I wish I could be your assistant for the day! You have so much wisdom about young children that I am drawn to. Thank you so much for taking the time to do all you do for me. I am so very thankful for you!!! God bless you and your family!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      Thank you too Nancy for being such a loyal reader and support to my work here:) I would love to have you be an assistant for the day too! What fun that would be:)

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