Image by Craftster.org
Need something fun and creative for the day? Try playing with fuzzy pom poms! They are found in the craft department, and come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and sometimes even prints or glitter.
Sort your pom poms by color, size (serration), or pattern. If you can sort by one attribute, try sorting by two - it's much trickier! This time make piles of large purple pom poms, green glittery pom poms, and teeny tiny white pom poms, and so forth.
Pour the pom poms into a jar and estimate how many are inside. To make this harder, guess how many large, medium, and small or how many blue, yellow, and red. Try recording your guesses in the form of a chart or graph. When your guesses are recorded, pour out the jar and count them. Record the actual numbers. Did you come close or were you way off? What could you do to make better guesses?
Practice one-to-one correspondence as you count your pom poms. How high can you go? Build the foundation for multiplication skills by arranging the pom poms into groups of two, or pairs. Now split them into groups of threes, then fours.
Let's experiment with our pom poms. Put them in a sink of water. Do they float or sink? What can you do to help them float or sink?
Can you create a catapult for your pom poms? Try balancing one on the handle of a spoon and then slamming your hand on the scoop end. How far can you make it go? Whose pom pom went the farthest? What did you do to make if fly farther?
Do you have a water works or toy car ramp. Have pom pom races on it.
What does it look like if you dissect a pom pom? Is it hollow or solid inside? Allow the children to guess what it will look like. Once you cut it open, have them practice their observational skills and use those adjectives again. If it doesn't look any different, then your child sees that not everything is exciting inside. Can they think of something that might have a surprise inside? Consider dissecting a flower, a stick, a fruit, or a vegetable. Be sure to keep it safe of course, with the adult handling the knife, and plenty of supervision. Also, try to find objects that a child can cut with safety scissors to increase participation.
Get your adjective on: Pretty, pink, fuzzy, whizzy, pommy, soft, bouncy, loved-by-cats, squishy, rolly, flick-across-the-room-able.
Pom poms can be used for so many things that there are a hundred ways to describe them. Have fun coming up with unusual and creative descriptions. This activity gets you and the children using your senses and thinking about things in new ways. This is an excellent starter activity for any kind of critical thinking activity.
Use pom poms to tell a story. Perhaps the large green ones are lily pads and the small green ones are frogs that hop on them. The tiny black poms are flies that buzz around trying not to get eaten by the frogs!
Use alliteration, rhyme, and descriptive words to make your story come to life. Model storytelling and then encourage your child to try. Children also love for you to begin a story, and allow them to chime in when they have an idea. Maybe you can start and they can finish your sentences. Gradually encourage the children to take over more of the story telling.
Create pom pom prints. Set out a variety of paints and sizes of pom poms. Encourage children to dip the poms in the paint and print away. They can even experiment with mixing colors. For a cute, homemade wrapping paper, use a variety of colors of paint on repurposed paper bags or newspaper.
Try cutting out a large shape such as a flower or a Christmas tree from an old cereal box. Using school glue and multicolored poms, cover the shape completely.
Using the photo at the top of this post for inspiration (from Crafster.org), thread poms onto string to create a pom pom string. Arrange multiple strings in a row to create a pom pom curtain. This could be a fun entrance into a play room or tree house.
Pretend the pom poms are food in the home center.
Or perhaps put double sided tape on red poms, adhere them to your clothes, and pretend you have Chicken Pox. Your child can pretend to be the doctor and make you better.
Play a relay game with pom poms. Have all the players stand on one side of the yard, each with a spoon in one hand and a pom pom in the other. The first person in line puts her pom pom in the spoon and races across the yard. When she gets to the other side, the next person goes. Try not to drop your pom pom. How fast did you complete the race? Can you do it faster trying a second time?
Balance a pom pom on your head, hand, shoulder, or nose! Can you do it? Where is it easiest to balance a pom pom?