Button Chain Activity

By Sara Niver OTR/L

A fun activity for occupational therapists, teachers, and parents to work on fine motor precision, self-help skills, and sequential directions!


The button chain is a wonderful tool for children to practice buttoning while also working on a variety of other skills!

*It is important to keep in mind the developmental milestones of buttoning before completing this activity with a child in order for it to be age appropriate:

  • 3.5 years old: Child can unbutton 1 large button independently
  • 3 years: Child can button a large or medium button
  • 3.5 years: Child can button up to 3 or 4 buttons independently


What you will need:
* Felt
* Buttons
* Scissors
* Needle
* Thread


How to make them:
1. Cut out a strip of felt with desired width and length in order to make a pattern. That way all the strips are the same length and thickness (I made mine roughly 11 inches long by 2 inches wide).
2. Use the pattern to draw a line on varied colored felt and then cut them out.
3. Sew a button on each strip (around 1 inch below the top).
4. Fold the felt on the opposite end of the button to cut a small slit in accordance with the size of the button.
Skills this activity incorporates: 

  • Bilateral Hand Coordination
  • Fine Motor Precision
  • Visual Perception
  • Following Multi-Step Directions
  • Self-Help Skills

Ideas to grade the activity:

  • Sew on a variety of large, medium, and small buttons. Have the child start with the large buttons to create the “just right challenge,” and then progress to smaller buttons.
  • Ask the child to button the strips in a specific color order.
  • Have the child assume the prone position (on their belly) on a mat to also work on upper body strength and endurance.
  • Make the felt strips and buttons with high contrast (black strip with a white button) or a low contrast (black strip with a black button) in order for it to be more or less challenging.


P.S: These can also be made with Velcro or snaps as well! Let’s put the fun in function!