Here's a cheap and easy activity for Under 5's using recycled materials. As buttons are tempting for little ones to put in their mouths or stick up noses, make sure you supervise closely.
Time: 20 minutes
Age: Under 5's
Box of buttons (we bought a big mixed bag for a few dollars in a discount craft shop)
Empty containers with lids
Scissors or knife
Collect an assortment of containers with lids. Try to find different sizes and materials. Try to find some which are transparent and others which are opaque.
Carefully cut slots in the lids using scissors or a knife. You could try making different widths and lengths of slot. Try some containers with a single slot and others with several slots to choose from. You could cut slots in the lid or in the side of the container.
Check to make sure that the slots don't have sharp edges which little fingers could get cut on.
Set out a box of mixed buttons with the posting boxes.
Let the children sort through the buttons, select ones which interest them and post them through the slots.
Explore the sounds the buttons make as they drop into the various containers. Try shaking the containers to make instruments.
Explore opening the lids and tipping the buttons back into the button box.
Preschoolers might enjoy using the posting boxes as a pretend money box, bank or play shop cash register.