day 14 – button fun

Have you got a button tin? My mother had one, as all mothers and grandmothers did at one time, and I loved to sit at the kitchen table and sort buttons while she worked. Kids still love doing this. Not everyone has a button tin these days but it’s easy to start one.

You can buy jars of buttons for a couple of dollars in second hand shops and then it’s just a matter of adding to them. Cut buttons from clothes before you put them in the rag bag, and keep the spare ones manufacturers supply with new items. If you’re a button-lover you’ll soon add to the collection and find yourself paying several dollars just for one. Glass buttons are especially beautiful, and especially expensive. And they look wonderful displayed in jars or vases. But this is not about you.

Children will sit for ages sorting buttons by colour and size, and lining them up in various shapes, grids and patterns. This develops their fine motor skills and their sense of colour and colour matching. Button colours come in countless variations. Put a tray underneath if you’re worried about small children losing them in the carpet. And if your kids are very small, of course you’ll have to watch they don’t eat them. Because buttons look like lollies. And they’re just as delicious.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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