One of our very favorite non-toy toys is a bucket of buttons. Ben used to play with them back when he was two and Will was a baby. They were a special toy we could only play with when the baby was asleep. Now that Will is no longer a baby (he’s just a boy!), he gets to join in on the fun while Ella Rose is sleeping. These parameters of playtime, I’m certain, add to the great appeal of the Buttons. Yet, not only this. There are a bazillion things you can do with a bucket of buttons. Defining and sorting by attribute (ten dollar math teacher word=size, shape, color, etc.) is a natural interaction. There’s also stacking, counting, lining up, creating designs, building, trading, flipping, spinning, rolling, pretending, throwing [“no! no throwing!”], balancing, scooping, pouring, dumping, and then just running your hands through the pile, feeling the cool, smoothness of the shiny plastic as they filter through your fingers. Oh yeah. We love the Buttons.
This particular playtime was all about pretend. There were button muffins since they fit so perfectly into those little paint palettes, there was an oven (“Ben, it’s hot. Get your oven mitten.”), there were ‘knobs’ to turn, things to adjust, buttons to beep and a ‘timer’.