Pete the Cat may be losing his buttons, but his story provides a great chance to practice sorting skills! This groovy activity explores basic subtraction, attributes and classification. Enjoy an instant-classic sing-along story while building beginner math skills!
Set Up ideas
Prepare a comfy place for story time. You may wish to gather buttons similar to Pete the Cat's. Children will be tickled to see those buttons in real life!
Let’s Get Started
For this activity, you'll need the book "Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons" by Eric Litwin, as well as a variety of buttons in different shapes, sizes and colors. You'll also need a sorting tray or space to sort the buttons into groups by their varying attributes.
Read "Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons" by Eric Litwin out loud. The story is meant to be sung, so listen to the accompanying song or make your own rhythm and melody!
Talk about the attributes of Pete's buttons that he loses during the course of the story. You may discuss their colors, shapes, sizes, number of holes and so on.
Show the children some of the buttons from your own collection. Talk with the children about the different attributes that are represented in the set.
Have the children sort the buttons into sets using one attribute. Color is often the simplest way to classify them. After that, you may move onto to size, shapes, number of holes, etc.
As Pete loses his buttons, this is a great opportunity to introduce subtraction to younger children. Also, it's worth discussing that even though Pete is losing his buttons, he keeps cool and doesn't become upset. We could all be cool cats like Pete when things don't go according to plan!
Tips and Tricks
You may come across buttons that are difficult to sort because of unique designs. Reassure the children that it's okay to fit in multiple categories or to be in a category of your own!
Follow up Activity
Looking for more fun with buttons? In addition to sorting, buttons are great for counting, creating patterns, making comparisons and discussing positioning. For a more creative twist, glue buttons onto construction paper for a unique collage!