This summer has been the Summer of Pom Poms. I am not sure why it took me so long to discover how great Pom Poms are but alas here we are.
My son loves Pom Poms! They are a toddler activity that is guaranteed fun. Besides just being a fun, entertaining activity, Pom Poms have helped my son develop some pretty important skills.
Benefits of Playing With Poms
I have been a teacher for 10 years now. Before that, I worked with preschoolers at a Summer Day Camp and babysat regularly.
Entertaining kids, planning schedules, and creative play are passions of mine that I have studied in my undergraduate and graduate programs and researched extensively.
BUT, I never realized how beneficial and wonderful Pom Poms are until now!
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My 7 Pom Pom Ideas-Let’s Get Rolling
1. Pom Pom Bath
This one I have to admit I borrowed from Busy Toddler. After seeing it on her Instagram page a few times and my friend sending me the link to this activity, I decided to give it a try and see what all the hype was.
Well, a Pom Pom bath is a hit! My son did not want to get out of the bathtub. He loved scooping and dumping the Pom Poms using plastic cups.
All I did was buy a few bags of colorful Pom Poms and dump them in the bathtub. I put in some cups and my son did the rest.
The clean up is super easy too. Get a colander and scoop up the Pom Poms. They dry pretty easily.
Warning: Depending on the kind of drain you have, the little Pom Poms can go down the drain easily.
Pro Tip: Don’t show or tell your child how to play with the Pom Poms. Let him figure out and then sit back and be amazed at your toddler’s creativity.
Skills working on: Independent play and creativity.
2. Color Sort
I was skeptical of whether my son would actually enjoy this next activity, but he did once he understood what to do.
I took some painter’s tape and made a big chart on our floor. 4 rows and 4 columns.
Then, I showed him how to sort by colors. This red one goes here. Does this yellow one go with the red one? No. The yellow one goes here.
After modeling what to do, I took a step back. This is important. Resist the urge to want to correct every wrong one. I wanted to see what he would do.
And guess what? He didn’t get it right at first or the next time. But after a few more repeated attempts and modelings, I happened to glance over, and he was doing it.
I heard him whisper to himself when he would find a wrong color with a sort, No, and then he would correct himself.
Skills working on: Independent play, categorizing, colors
This next idea is one that you might have to sit down and play with your toddler, depending on his age level.
I bought a big die from the Dollar Store and wrote the numbers 1-6 on it. Then, I put all the Pom Poms in one large bin. I used the graph from the previous activity (4 by 4 chart made with the painters tape).
I would have my son roll the die. Together, we would say what number it landed on. Whatever that number was, we would count out that many Pom Poms and place them in the chart.
After a few rounds of doing it together, I always like to step back and see how my son would do it on his own.
Pro Tip: Once you take a step back, don’t correct or ask questions. Just narrate and use a strategy called Parallel Talk or Tracking.
Skills working on: Independent play and counting.
4. Pretend Play
It’s time to get imaginative on this next activity and encourage that pretend play.
When encouraging pretend play, you often want to mix items from the real world with pretend items.
What I did was take some of our real frying fans and mixing spoons and then I combined those with the Pom Poms. The Pom Poms became our “meatballs.”
My son loved mixing the Pom Poms in the frying pans and pretending like he was making something. He has one of those toy kitchens and after a while he brought the Pom Poms over to that to “boil,” “fry,” “bake,” and “serve” them.
Pro Tip: This is a great time for a 10-minute time-in. Sit with your child and let him take the lead, joining in on the fun. After the time-in step back and let him continue playing on his own.
Skills working on: Independent play and creativity.
This next activity was a big hit with my son. I think he could literally play with this activity for hours.
What I did was have two muffin tins side by side, but you could use two bins or pots or whatever you have around the house.
In one of the muffin tins I put all the Pom Poms and for an element of surprise wrapped it in tissue paper. The other tin was left uncovered. This got Henry interested in what was going to happen.
I instructed him to break, tear, or rip through the tissue paper to see what he would find. Then, I showed him how to scoop the Pom Poms from one bin to the other.
And kids love this! Eventually, he began scooping the Pom Poms into his dump trucks and that was fine with me.
Pro Tip: Have your child scoop and sort by color from one tin into the next.
Skills working on: Independent play, fine motor skills, and sorting.
This one is very similar to the previous one, but instead your toddler is going to use tongs.
At first, this one was hard for Henry to grasp. Literally. But with a lot of encouragement and modeling, he eventually got the hang of it and had a blast pinching Pom Poms from one muffin tin to the next.
You can do this in a number of ways. For starters, you can have your child use tongs to grab Pom Poms and transfer them from one muffin tin to the next.
Or you can use tongs for the color sort and counting.
Or you can do a whole new activity. Busy Toddler has a similar activity called Animal Tape Rescue. But you can adapt it for Pom Poms.
Get a bin and fill it with a little water. Food coloring is optional for added fun. Add in the Pom Poms. Then cover the top of the bin with painters tape, leaving little slits for your toddler to reach in and “save” the Pom Poms.
Warning: This is not easy, but it is a good workout for little hands and perseverance.
Pro Tip: Really build it up that this is a rescue mission.
Skills working on: Fine motor skills and creativity.
7. Frozen Pom Poms
Want an easy activity on a hot day? Freeze the Pom Poms. It’s that easy and makes for a great water table and sensory bin activity.
Another Busy Toddler favorite, all you have to do is put two Pom Poms in one ice cube tray and add a little water. Freeze it. And bam. That’s it.
Then recycle those bins and cups and spoons and tongs and let your toddler decide how she wants to play.
Skills working on: Independent play, creativity, and fine motor skills
What activity are you going to try with your toddler today?