An invitation to play PomPoms

This morning I am TRYING to do a little bit of crafty making, hoping to give a handmade Xmas pressie to the children. However, Little L is very interested in all the little bit and bobs I need, and I am trying to steer him away from the glue!

So I have decided to distract him with some of the pompoms I don’t need, as I am using a few but bought a big bag full. And it is seriously working! I am writing this, and he is totally preoccupied with his little game! Not only that, as with all the little activities I like to set up, he is learning as well.

The pompoms I have are the type you get in the kids section of craft shops, with different colours and various sizes in one bag. They cost £1 for the bag, and there are lots in.


I emptied all of the ones I didn’t need into a plastic bowl.

Then I had a search around the kitchen for some other props. Now I am not the tidiest stay at home mummy, but in situations like this I end up pleased with myself! Because its raining outside I haven’t taken the recycling out yet, so there are boxes piling up in my kitchen! And these were great for Little L to play with. I grabbed an empty toothpaste tube, and a kitchen roll tube which I cut in half. I also chose his three metal measuring pans from his treasure basket, along with a spoon.

I set them out on Little L’s small table and let him explore them his way! This is what I call my “invitation to play”.

First he picked up the spoon and tried to scoop the pompoms into the metal pans, but he found that they fell off his spoon each time and didn’t make it into the pans.

So he gave up and used his hands to pick them up, and began filling up the toothpaste box.



He was really good at this, using his fingers and thumb to pick up even the smallest ones. He filled the box right up to the top, then tipped it over expecting them to tumble out…but they didn’t! As he had squashed them all in, they stayed were they were. Now he was a bit puzzled, and turned to me for help. But I wanted him to figure it out for himself –  so I didn’t help him, just talked to him and asked him how was he going to get them out. In the end he learnt that if he shook the tube the pompoms came tumbling out.


After repeating this a few times, he turned his attention to the kitchen roll tube. He liked filling it up, and watching the pompoms fall all over when he moved the tube.


He also liked the messiness and ran to pick them up when they dropped onto the floor. (Little L likes to keep things tidy, lets hope he stays like that..) He talked to me while he played, showing me what he was doing, and squealing when they tipped on the floor. I told him what colours he had in his hands, and counted some into the pans, just up to number 3 for now.

Finally, he used his hands again to fill up the three pans, and repeatedly tipped the contents back into the bowl.


He tried to tip big pans into small pans, but realised they spilt over and wouldn’t fit. Then he piled up the full pans and knocked them down.


He happily played for about 20 minutes, until they all ended up on the floor, and he decided he was going to play with his cars instead.

What did he learn while playing?

I have listed just a few, as the learning outcomes for this kind of activity are vast;

  • He practised his fine motor skills, firstly by trying to use the spoon, and then by picking up the pompoms with his fingers and putting them down.
  • He practised his large motor skills by reaching over the table with his arms to get objects, and by walking, crouching down, and standing up again
  • He made his own choices by selecting how he was going to play and what with
  • Problem solving skills when he couldn’t use the spoon, and when the pompoms wouldn’t come out of the tube.
  • Introducing maths by listening to me count up to three, and talking about colours, as well as learning the large pan contents overfilled the small.
  • In his personal development, he was confident to be able to play with something new by himself.
  • We talked all the way through the activity, therefore helping to develop his language skills.

That’s the end of Little L’s pompom play for today, but I will put them back in the bag and get them out another day with some different props to play with, so that he can learn through play all over again.

Thank you for reading and I hope you can see how easy it is to help your little ones learn with simple things we have in our homes.

Annmarie xx



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