Ready for a super simple activity? Just a little something to kill a bit of time while you prep dinner? I present to you the pom pom sort!
Firstly this activity is what I would consider an open ended activity. What that means is there isn’t a specific plan or end goal for the activity. As a mother I try not to push my agenda or tell my children what they should be doing with the activity. I let them lead, I see what they are interested in and then try to help extend and help if I can!
To set up for this activity I grabbed a couple of our unused egg cartons. If you don’t have one you can use a muffin tin, even better a mini muffin tin. Either can be used to sort and line up the pom poms.
Next you’ll need some pom poms. Ours are a combination of super small, medium and large ones. This can add to the organizing. My only suggestion is to use ones of different colors.
Finally, to help extend the activity, you’ll want to add some sort of tool to help transfer the pom poms from the container to the cartons or muffin tins. We used tweezers and handy scoopers. A spoon or small scoop would work too. A way to transfer the pom poms just adds to the process. It helps children slow down and focus on what they are doing. It also helps develop small motor skills.
So I laid out all of our goodies and popped my 4 and almost 2 year old down and just stepped back. At first my girls rifled through their pom poms with their hands, great sensory experience. Next my littlest became interested in the tweezers and scoops. I helped her get her grip right and then she went at it. She was so focused on transferring the pom poms. My older girl started picking out her favorites with her tweezers. This is awesome for helping develop those little hand muscles that are essential for writing with pen or pencil.
After filling up their cartons we dumped the pom poms back into the bowl and I suggested they find their favorite colors and line them up. A suggestion can help prolong their play, but hold back until you notice a little wane in enthusiasm.
After about 20 minutes my girls lost interest. I was a little disappointed because sometimes an open ended activity can keep them busy much longer. But then after quiet time my four year old asked if she could add some paint to her carton. Ummm YES!!! So we grabbed the paints and they were completely enthralled again. Another 20 minutes.
After adding their colors they were ready to sort the pom poms again. My oldest wanted to keep her “treasure box” she was so proud. I don’t blame her!
Make sure to ask questions of your little one. Something like, “Tell me why that pom pom goes there!” “Which one is your favorite?” “Can you pick up more than one at once?” Asking questions is an easy way to work on communication and vocabulary. It also shows your child that you are interested in what they are doing.
Other ideas to extend:
Ask your child to do a pattern with different colored pom poms.
Ask them to sort by colors.
You can write 1 through 12 or 18 on the bottom of each egg spot and then have your child line up pom poms to see how many their are.
Have your child paint the bottom of each egg spot and then match the color with the right colored pom pom.
Hide the pom poms around a room and have your child search and find one pom pom for each spot.
What other way would you use to interest your child?
So this morning we wrote 1-18 on the bottom of each egg spot.
Then I sent the girls upstairs, to tidy up, while mom set up a FUN and SECRET activity. They were very excited. I hid 36 pompoms around the room, one set for each girl. I told my oldest if they were hiding on the floor to let her little sister get those, because they were really easy.
The girls loved hunting and finding their pom poms! My older was careful to put her pom poms in the right number and keep track of how many she had found. Both girls also enjoyed using the tweezers to grab their pom pom. After finding all of their treasures they did some trading and swapping for their favorites.
Then my oldest sent her little sis upstairs and she hid the pom poms. This gave me time to get my own things done. I love when an activity lets me participate with my sweeties AND lets me have a few minutes quality time too!