Fabric and Buttons!

100_8100 Using textures and small manipulatives like buttons for beginning patterning provocations is another way to introduce mathematic concepts to young minds in a non-intrusive way.

100_8096 This is an example of how you can display biggest to smallest using buttons.  The idea when setting up provocations like this one with fabric and buttons, is to keep in mind this is an open-ended exploration.  Watch, listen and observe how one or all four children at the table use the materials or choose not to use them.  Revisit this provocation and from the observations and words of the children formulate questions to spark a discussion of possible uses for fabric and buttons.  You may be surprised at what non-conventional ways the children will come up with. 🙂

100_8097 Using different nature based or Autumn colors is another way to stimulate a child’s young mind in terms of creativity.  Here is a cream colored fabric with yellow buttons along with leaf patterns and a star shape.  These small details may be noticed by the children and this could inspire one or more to draw or paint a picture of leaves or stars.  The children may ask for clay to sculpt a flower.  You never know where a young mind will take a provocation.

100_8098  Now you may be thinking this is too abstract, not enough information for a young mind.  However, my expectations are for the young mind’s capacity to question, explore ideas and take risks creating things inspired by a provocation like this one.  Conversation and deep discussion can come about from the children for different uses of fabric and buttons.  Sizes, shapes, colors, textures are all a part of the natural and artificial world in which all children live and breath.  Use what you have to provoke deep thought, questioning, exploring and constructing minds of the young children you teach or care for.

100_8099  Patters are in real nature and they are in artificial nature.  Here is an example of using the colors in the fabric to create with buttons a red and yellow pattern.  Again this is a provocation which may lead a young child to extend the pattern, or it may inspire them to draw or sculpt.  As a Teacher my ideas and adult expectations have to be put on the back burner.  I have to be patient and wait to see how young three, four and five year old minds will interpret and create with exposure  to a provocation like this one.  The types of questions I ask to further exploration may differ for each age group or I may observe how each child of a different age influences another’s ideas and constructions based on this one provocation.

Give this provocation a try!  See what your young preschool children come up with.  Let me know how it worked out for you.  Let me know if it did not work and how you changed the provocation.  How did your discussions on this provocation unfold and what insights did you gain in terms of how each child interpreted the provocation?  I want to hear from you!  Please like and share!


Thank you!

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning 🙂



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