All year we’ve been having fun with colors, but these past few weeks we had a fun pom pom center! This included a pompom drop and a place to sort the pompoms by color.
I came across some great ideas for pompom drops on Pinterest, but this was just a quick throw-together. I would love to attach these to wood instead of just paper!
Anyway, I began with cardboard tubes (I’m such a hoarder) and painted them 6 different colors using 2-3 coats of regular tempera paint. Then I attached them with painter’s tape to a large piece of paper and taped it all up to the wall.
Add a bin full of colored pompoms of different sizes, and we had some happy toddlers!
They have gotten some practice pushing pompoms through small areas like this, but they also got to experiment with different sized pompoms and different sized tubes.
Some of the larger pompoms got stuck in the smaller tubes, so we learned which sizes could fit down which tubes. (And we also had fun stopping up the tubes and making piles of pompoms on top of them).
I drew their attention to the colors and showed them how the tubes matched the pompoms in color – that they could drop a blue pompom down the blue tube. A lot of them persisted in this activity, and others just dropped the pompoms down whichever tube they liked, which was fine.
I narrated their actions to reinforce the color learning: “Susie dropped an orange pompom down the green tube – look! It came out the bottom and into the bin!”
As fun as the pompom drop was, they also had a blast just playing with the pompoms. They are such a fun sensory experience – just try squishing a big fat one between your fingers! You can see here scoops of pompoms being tossed over the shoulder – it was glorious fun!
They also got to compare the texture of the smooth and soft pompoms to the sparkly bristly ones. This little one took a handful to carry around with her for the morning.
I also had tongs and scoops available to exercise finger muscles in picking up the pompoms.
AND… we had a muffin tin and ice cube tray with some colored paper taped to the compartments. Sometimes we put them in the matching colors, and sometimes we didn’t.
In any case, we are practicing one-to-one correspondence and using our fine motor skills in grasping the pompoms…
…and learning to share and work together!
As you can imagine, cardboard tubes taped to paper with painter’s tape did not stay on the wall for long. But we found other uses for them. This little blue pompom got hidden under the yellow tube – what a fun game!
Like any sensory play, the room got a little messy, as in pompoms were underfoot everywhere. But this was a very popular center with a fun way to learn about and practice sorting colors.
Of course, use discretion with toddlers and small objects like pompoms. These 23-29 month olds have gotten months of practice with small objects under my heavy supervision, and they have past the mouthing stage. But of course, I still watched them to make sure.
UPDATE on 3-20-13:
I am overwhelmed at the number of views this post has had in such a short time! First blogging success! :) Here's something that may make this activity a little more durable: when my coworker used this idea, she stapled her cardboard tubes to a poster board!
Thanks for stopping by!