Spontaneous Montessori

While I was doing some work in the sewing room, Clara started playing with a pile of buttons.

I added two empty yogurt containers and a pair of tweezers, and she had some impromptu Montessori-inspired fun!!

This was a super-simple activity of just transferring the buttons one at a time, from one container to the other using the tweezers. It kept her happily occupied for more than 20 minutes — a long while in toddler time!!

Once all the buttons were transferred, she would pour them into the other container and start all over again!

My favorite part was hearing her say “Ta Da!!!” — she was quite proud of herself! For a more simpler version, have your child try transferring cotton balls from one bowl to another using a pair of tongs. It’s a great workout for those developing (and very important) pincher-grasp muscles!

Have fun!!


  1. I love this, I have a post coming soon on practical life. It’s my favorite area of the classroom!

  2. She’s getting so big! What a fun and simple activity!

  3. I love how the simplest of things make the best toys or games. Who doesn’t love sorting through and playing with buttons?

  4. What a great activity and 20 minutes! that is great!!

    • It’s a great quiet-time activity. I’m planning to pull it out again whenever I need a few minutes of quiet…. I hope it works just as well!

  5. So cute.

    Now I have to go eat some Oikos Greek yogurt with caramel!

  6. I think my favorite part is how she dumped them back in the first container instead of transferring them back. :>) Thanks for the pigtails! She looks so much like her big sis in them!

    • LOL I don’t know why she insisted on doing it that way, but as long as she was enjoying herself, it’s okay with me!

  7. Super cute! Those ponytails get me ever time!

  8. She is too cute! πŸ™‚

  9. I think the spontaneous Montessori activities are the best ones!

  10. Those seem to be the only Montessori type activities that occur in my house. If I plan it, they sure don’t work well.

    • Why is that??? It’s so frustrating sometimes. I’m so grateful she comes up with her own little things to do. It’s fun to watch!

  11. I loved this idea and sent it along to two of my daughters. Another take on this is to slip old fashioned clothes pins around the side of a bread pan. The idea is to take the clothes pins off, drop them into the pan and then reposition them along the edge of the pan. A very fun and toddler friendly activity. Especially good while the toddler is sitting in the middle of the floor while mom is cooking or helping those dish fairies! clean up.

    • Oh, great idea!! I’ll give it a try, and thanks so much for passing it along to your daughters!! xoxo

  12. Thanks for the fairy princess idea… this will make cleaning a breeze….

    Looking forward to see other frugal family fun ideas



  13. Who would have thought it would be so much fun.
    What a simple idea.

    • I think we’ll turn it into a sorting activity soon, so she can sort buttons of different colors… I think she’s up for it!

  14. Cute! My 20mo old like to do this with water from one bowl to the other…messier though!

  15. I love how a simple project can keep a little one entertained for hours!

  16. Hi Valerie! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with our Carnival of Junk Play. This is the perfect illustration of child-led fun – and just shows how we have all sorts of ‘toys’ around the home if we let children explore a little.


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