How to Make a Learn-to-Button Book for Toddlers

By Lee Grayson ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Fabric shears
  • Fabric glue or needle and thread
  • Fabric
  • Buttons -- different sizes
  • Fabric paint -- optional
  • Pinking shears
  • Shoelaces
Button books help toddlers explore the techniques to handle buttons of different sizes and shapes.

Teaching your toddler to button clothing helps you out on busy mornings, and independent dressing helps your child develop confidence and self-esteem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brooks Rehabilitation states at age 4 your child can button the front of the shirt, though the CDC notes some children are ready for buttoning between the ages of 1 and 3 years. A learn-to-button book offers a way to teach basic skills incorporating different types of buttons and fasteners to keep your toddler's interest.

Plan your book layout on regular notebook paper. Determine the number of pages to feature button exercises and add decorative pages without buttons in your design as well.

Select your buttons. Use a variety of thicknesses, shapes and sizes to give your toddler practical dressing experience. Buy new buttons or ask friends to donate extra buttons for the book.

Choose the fabric for your button book, incorporating different textures and colors. This makes the book look appealing and also gives your toddler practice buttoning different fabric thicknesses.

Measure and cut the fabric for your book pages using a ruler and scissors. Interactive toddler books frequently use pages measuring half the size of a standard piece of notebook paper, but when customizing the book, select a size that allows space for button practice.

Cut miniature shirts from fabric pieces using your book plan. Size the shirts to fit your book pages. Use pinking shears to cut around the edges of the tiny shirts to keep the fabric from unraveling during play.

Create a shirt sandwich that pairs two of the miniature shirts together. Sew at least one button on one piece of your miniature shirt sandwich, and then cut a buttonhole on the other half of the sandwich to allow the child to button and unbutton the shirt with the button. If the button shirt has two buttons, make sure the top shirt has the correct number of buttonholes and that the buttonhole spacing matches the bottom piece of the shirt pair. Unaligned buttonholes make it difficult for your toddler to correctly attach the top shirt to the bottom shirt.

Attach the shirt with the buttons sewn to it to the fabric pages by sewing or gluing it. Do the same process on other pages -- a separate page for each shirt with buttons. Don't attach the shirts with buttonholes to the book. These shirt pieces are removable and allow children to button and unbutton the shirts to the ones sewn in the book.

Decorate the other pages in the book. Attach other fabric pieces or use toddler-safe fabric paints to create shapes and images. Personalize your learn-to-button book with fabric paints.

Adhere book pages together with glue or thread. The button activity can be one side of each page, and attach decorated fabric pages on the back of each button page. Turn the fabric edges under while sewing or gluing or use pinking shears on the edges to avoid fraying.

Cut two holes in each page along the left-hand side to bind with shoelaces. Center the holes to give the book stability. Larger books may need three holes to keep the book tightly bound.

Lace the pages of the book together with the shoelace and securely sew the ends of the lace to the book top and bottom.

About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.