One of my favorite materials for kid activities is a big bag of pom poms! Pom poms are great manipulatives to use for fine motor activities, pre-math activities, art and craft play, pretend play and free play.
In addition, if your kids start throwing pom poms arounds (as they inevitably will), you don't have to worry about them breaking anything or hurting your feet when you step on them barefoot!
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We have a gigantic one pound bag of pom poms but even a smaller bag of pom poms like this one will get you started.
This week my youngest son was playing with the pom poms again so I thought in addition to showing you his most recent pom pom play I'd do a round up of other ideas he's come up with.
1. He likes to sort pom poms by size in nice straight lines.
2. He also likes to pick pom poms up with chopsticks. This is one of the best activities for developing fine motor skills. These kid chopsticks are awesome for all sorts of fine motor activities.
3. Pom poms make a nice substitute for ping pong balls when using a catapult indoors, because they won't break anything when launched! If you don't have a diy catapult, your kids are in for a treat. Read our instructions for making a homemade catapult and how to use it for target practice.
4. Work those tiny finger muscles by pushing pom poms through slots in a container lid. This is one of my absolute favorite activities to bring out on the spur of the moment. It is sort of amazing how much the kids like to do this again and again. It's one of the best busy toddler activities ever.
5. Make art by shaking poms and paint in a container. Use the art later for lovely gift cards or frame it as unique art work.
6. Save your egg cartons for counting practice. Even if your child is not ready to count, placing a pom pom in each section of the egg carton involves one to one correspondence, which is a very important early math skill.
9. Stick them on toothpicks. A lollipop forest, maybe? Note: use caution with toothpicks, which are sharp. Alternatively, use straws. Balancing the pom poms on top of the straws is good for hand-eye coordination skills.
MORE: Reuse those toothpicks in this toothpick and colander fine motor activity
10. And finally, a little free play with egg cartons and cylindrical containers! This is also an excellent distraction for toddlers!
Originally published 2013, updated 2023.