Sorting and Packaging Buttons

By Activity Bank on Oct 31, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Susan N. Edwards and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

Vocational training can start with young children, teaching them skills that can be useful in a potential work situation later on. Understanding sorting and categorizing is one such skill. This activity uses buttons to teach sorting, packaging, inserting and counting, while working on the student’s pincer grasp. Students can do this activity for arts and crafts class or sewing class. Lessons include English Language Arts, Career Education, Social Skills and Independent Living Skills.


  • Buttons
  • Sorting tray
  • Small plastic bags
  • Heat sealer (adapted)
  • Finished box
  • Counting jig (if needed)


Provide the student with buttons in a large container. Above the container, provide a sorting tray. Ask the student to:

  • Sort the buttons by the given categories (color, size, etc.)
  • Package six buttons into each plastic bag.
  • Seal each bag with a heat sealer.
  • Place the bag in the finished box.

Note: instead of a heat sealer, Ziploc® bags or twist ties can be used to seal the bags.


For students who do not have number concepts, trace six buttons on an index card. Have the student match the buttons to the ones on the index card. When all of the circles on the card have been covered, have the student package the buttons and continue until all buttons have been packaged.

Hint: The buttons may be sorted according to size, shape and texture, for those students with no useable vision.


Sorting and packaging buttons