Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tot School Ideas Using Pom-Poms! Plus a Freebie!

Zeke is 18 months old and loves doing Tot School - well, most days he does! Each month I'm going to post five Tot School Ideas using something easily found in your home (or easy to get). I'm also going to post a FREEBIE printable to use with your toddler.

This month we are playing with pom-poms! Pom-poms are perfect for Tot School because they're cheap, colorful, are easy for little hands to manipulate, and have a soft texture. You can use pom-poms for so many activities! I'm going to share Zeke's five favorite Tot School activities using pom-poms.

We did this several months ago and Zeke just loved it! It's definitely something we will repeat. I took an empty Gerber Puffs container and ripped off the plastic label. Then I cut an "X" into the lid. I folded the flap under a bit to make it easier for Zeke to drop the pom-poms into the container. This was great because he had to really push the pom-poms into the container, exercising his fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination. He would push them all in and then take off the lid, dump them out, and put them back in! He also liked putting them into the container with the lid off. You could use any container you have, but the Puff container was the perfect size. The lid was also pliable which is pretty necessary for this activity.

This is an activity we do often because he really likes it. Simply put about ten pom-poms (or even cotton balls) into a bowl and provide your toddler another bowl and a spoon, tongs, or a clothespin (depending on their ability to manipulate with their fingers and hands). Your child can even use his hands, which Zeke does sometimes. Show your child how to transfer the pom-poms from one bowl into another. Zeke will sit with this for 10-20 minutes at a time, which is an eternity for a toddler!
Zeke was around 14 months old here. He used his hands to transfer large pom-poms and stayed occupied for around 10 minutes!

You can use colored paper cut in half, colored bowls or cups, or anything else you have.  We used colored paper cups, and I used a few colors at a time. I set out a blue cup and a red cup and gave him three each of red and blue pom-poms. I showed him how to sort them by color. We kept using different color combinations and finally used all four cups and colors. This was a fun activity for him!

You can use this with any shape you are teaching your toddler. Just draw the shape onto a sheet of paper using a marker. Show your child how to place the pom-poms on the outline of the shape. It's okay if they can't get it totally straight! Repeat the shape name as your child places down the pom-poms. "Place that yellow pom-pom on the square! Good job!"

This is where the FREEBIE comes in today! Simply print these Pom-Pom Counting Cards, laminate, and cut apart. Your child can place the pom-poms on the circles on the cards. Show your toddler how to count, how to match colors, and even how to recognize the numbers. He doesn't have to match the colors every time; I just wanted it to be colorful and to have the option to color-match.

Also, check out my Tot School in a Box page, where I'll be offering 7-10 activities in a box that you can do with your toddler - seriously open and go!

What are some other ways you've used pom-poms in your Tot School? Leave a comment and I will feature your idea on my next Tot School post!

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