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Ways Preschoolers Can Practise Buttoning, Zipping and using Velcro on Clothing 

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Teaching children how to button, zip, and velcro is an integral step in their development. For kids, learning how to use buttons, zippers, and velcro can be a big learning curve. These tasks can be a test of fine motor skills. There are many great ways to develop the tools children need for these self-care skills. Buttoning, zipping, and using velcro can be introduced to your child in four phases, making learning more accessible.

Phase One

It is never too early to develop your child’s fine motor skills. While they are still babies and toddlers, you can encourage them to use both hands. This encouragement can be done with toys with handles to grasp, buttons to push, or moving parts. Shape sorters and simple puzzles are also suitable activities to assist in motor skill development.

Phase Two 

For your older toddler, you can introduce some “pre-fastening” activities that work on mobility and using both hands to work together. Having them put beads on a string is a great practise tool that will help with concentration. Also, simply giving them some buttons to play with can help familiarise them with the feeling. You can also purchase a lacing card game like this one to teach your child how to use a string.

Phase Three 

Once your child has gotten comfortable with the above phases, it’s time to start practising with activities closer to the real thing. Have them dress a doll in clothes that have buttons or zippers. They can also button or zip their own clothing while it’s not on their body to make it easier to see and manipulate.

Phase Four 

After all these activities, your child should be more than ready to try out buttoning, zipping, and using velcro with the clothes on their body. Putting your hand over their hand while using a zipper can help them feel and visualise how to do it properly. If they are still struggling, you can add a ribbon to the zipper to help make it a bit easier. It will take practise and time for them to be able to use buttons, zippers, and velcro on their own, but your patience and understanding will help make it easier.

Helpful Tips 

If your child is continuing to struggle with getting themselves dressed even after continued practise, here are some tips that may help with their learning.

  1. Have them sit down while they try to button or zip. Sitting on a stable chair or the floor means they will not have to worry about balancing while focusing on the task at hand.
  2. Provide consistent verbal cues. Try using the same working on each step, so they have dependable directions. As they become more independent, you can reduce your directions until they are self-sufficient.
  3. Avoid certain clothing. If you see that the buttons on a particular shirt or the zipper on a certain jacket do not seem to cooperate, avoid dressing your child in these items. Failing repeatedly to button or zip a particular item will affect their confidence and may halt their desire to learn.
  4. Work together. Assisting your child instead of doing it for them or having them do it themselves is one of the best ways for them to learn. They can mimic your actions with their hands on instead of just watching you do it.
  5. Practise these skills when you are not in a rush. If your child is not comfortable using a zipper or buttoning their clothes, do not have them do it in the morning when you are running late for school. Wait for a time when you both can be patient and calm.


Learning how to button, zip, and use velcro is one aspect of daily activity children must know. It is a task they will most likely be completing every day for the rest of their lives. Being able to dress themselves will help fuel your child’s independence and confidence. It will also save you time in the mornings before school and help ease their journey into self-sufficiency.

If you are looking for a daycare that will help teach your child about daily tasks in creative ways, contact  The Learning Experience (TLE) Centre to find a location near you. Learn more about The Learning Experience in East Finchley here!

The Learning Experience- East Finchley Day Nursery and Preschool
250 East End Rd
London N2 8AU

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