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When working on buttoning skills, there is a progression of skill mastery. Pushing buttons or coins into a container is the first step. Putting coins into a piggy bank slot is the easiest, and then pushing buttons or coins into a recycled butter tub is the next. One reason using the butter container is good is that when you cut the slot, you just slice the container so that the hole that you put the buttons into is just a slit and not a full slot like the hole in a piggy bank.

Sensory feedback is important when learning to button.

The slit in the container versus a hole provides resistance when pushing the buttons in, so the student gets sensory feedback to the fingers to feel how the button slides and where to push on the button to get it to go through the slit. These sensations are important in learning how to button and come into play more frequently as you get to the harder buttons in fabric.

button push-ins

I used a clean recycled sour cream tub, and put blue duck tape on it to make it more aesthetically pleasing. As a benefit, the duck tape around the slit helps to stabilize the slit and provide more resistance, as well as keep the plastic of the lid from tearing.

button edge

I have my clients use a combination of buttons and money to push through the slot. You can increase the skill level by having them hold the buttons in one hand and manipulate the buttons to put them in the slit one at a time.


  • Recycled butter or sour cream tub
  • Duck tape
  • Buttons or money


  • ADLS
  • Buttoning
  • Finger strengthening
  • In hand manipulation

new-button-button-food-copyCheck out more button activities.

more button activities



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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.
9 replies
  1. SuzRocks
    SuzRocks says:

    So I’m really hoping that I don’t ever need all these therapy tips for my self or family any time soon…but your site seems like it has a lot of awesome ideas.

    I’m a nurse- worked in the ICU for a long time, so I unfortunately know that it is a very real possibility that something bad will happen to someone I know.

  2. shelley
    shelley says:

    as a special needs mom, i love this post! great way to include a list. so glad you are joining me in this 31 day challange.
    shelley “the hostess”

  3. Libby Van Bruggen
    Libby Van Bruggen says:

    I love the duct tape for the reinforcement as those lids eventually break. I have also used two pieces of fun foam glued together with slits the size of pennies and then had kids push/pull the pennies through.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] to slide craft sticks into. I have some that are the perfect size to push buttons into for the button push-ins, and bigger holes for the ball […]

  2. […] activity is possibly the easiest one involving buttons and fabric. The button push-ins activity is easier, but does not involve […]

  3. […] out how to maneuver the button into the hole. It also helps to start with stiff holes, such as in a button push in activity so that the hole visually stays in the same place, and it is easy to line up the button with the […]

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