I found the idea for making button snakes over at Happy Hooligans. She used felt squares for her snake, and we did too for the first button snake we made. Since then we have also made fabric squares and foam shapes. The felt squares definitely worked the best, but we like that the foam sheets and fabric squares are a bit more difficult. This is a great activity to promote fine motor development and buttoning skills.
To make a button snake, all you need is a ribbon, two buttons, and whatever material you feel like adding to the button snake. Just keep in mind that when you cut the felt/fabric/foam you need to make sure there is enough wiggle room for the ribbon to fit through.
I used small foam sheets and cut each one into 9 squares.
When I finished cutting them up, I stacked them up and measured a few different ribbons against them. I chose one that was about half as wide as the foam sheets.
Then I divided the squares in half (three of each colour) and cut one pile diagonally and the other horizontally.
For my toddler son, felt was definitely the best option, because this is what happened when he tried to use the button snake with the foam squares. I didn't fret too much because I knew we'd just end up using those pieces as scraps for something in the future. But I also didn't want to leave him out while his sister enjoyed playing with the button snake, so I limited him to 10 squares. He did manage to get four out of the ten onto the button snake, so I see that as a success!
Bean definitely liked the challenge of having to carefully add the foam squares to the button ribbon. When she finished putting them all on, she held up the button snake like a trophy and proudly showed me her work. But like I said before, felt works best and we only used foam sheets to add a texture challenge to the activity. To make it more fun, we have also tried using a couple of each different material.