button blanket sensory bin

A button blanket is a wool wearing blanket embellished with mother of pearl buttons created by Northwest Coastal tribes. - Wikipedia

We made button blankets (kindergarten style - no needles and thread). 

- so why not a button blanket sensory bin.  

I had lots of help putting this bin together.  In fact all I did was ask the right people to make or get the supplies, and I put them all together.

We paid a local elder to make some items for the bin.

He painted boxes from Michaels with First Nations images.  Aren't they beautiful?  My contribution was  protecting them with a few coats of Modge Podge.

Our school's First Nations support worker weaves beautiful hats and baskets from the inner layer of cedar bark.  She has gifted fingers.  

Traditionally button blankets were made with abalone shell buttons.  Our elder made these beautiful buttons to add to the bin.  

He also gave us a shell for scooping and pouring buttons.  I know the kidlets will love using it.  The glint of the shell, the clink of the buttons - good sensory experiences. 

Back to buttons.  

I thought it was going to be easy to get a bunch of white buttons.  It wasn't.  

I haunted thrift shops, begged my friends (bless them) to go through their button collections and give me the white buttons.   It was not enough buttons for the bin.

Then a friend (who begins her school year with a focus on hands) told me that she could go to  a place in Vancouver where you could buy buttons by the pint.  For a good price.  Glory be!  We had our button solution.  

The kids have not had a chance to explore the button bin yet.  I can't wait to see what they bring to the bin, and how they use the materials.  



  1. Gorgeous! I have recently come into a mass of buttons myself (but not all beautiful like yours) and I was going to use them to do a winter bin with mittens and snowman sorts of things.

    The Meek Moose
    The Meek Moose on TpT

  2. When I saw the title of a "Button Sensory Bin" on Tara's linky list I knew it would be you!

    I wish I taught kinder for YOUR sensory bin ideas!

    I made a DIY Light Table for the linky!

    The Reading Corner

    1. A light table is on my to do list. Heading over to check out how you did it.


  3. Replies
    1. Thanks. Sensory bins are a bit of an addiction.


  4. Okay, that's just AMAZING!
    Where in Vancouver did you go? We're going over in a couple of weeks ~ I might grab some myself.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    1. Thanks, Barb.
      My friend told me the store is called Dressew and it is on Hastings. First Nations stickers on the boxes would work too.


  5. How do you keep each of your sensory bins when you aren't using them? I love the way buttons feel. Sometimes when kids are out of their minds, I give them a jar of buttons and ask them to sort them all. They love it and I love to hear when they report to the class how and why they sorted.

    The whole idea of the elders is so cool to me. I love how you integrate it into your classroom.

    First in Maine

  6. I love buttons too. There is something calming and creativity supporting about them.

    I keep my sensory bins in gallon plastic bags when they are "in waiting".


  7. Oh my gosh, this is the coolest bin. I love the abalone buttons and the shell. This is such a great activity for your kids, jealous. It is really hard to find buttons in bulk, even in California.

    The First Grade Princess

  8. I love the idea of using a sea shell to scoop buttons.

  9. This is beautiful, Sandi! I LOVE that you are exposing the children to traditional First Nations culture and that you were able to involve an elder in putting this together.

  10. Thanks for linking this fun post to Tuesday Tots. I'm featuring it this week on Learn with Play at home. :)

  11. I love this idea!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  12. This is so cool--a whole multicultural experience inside a sensory bin! I'm pinning to my sensory board!


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