Activity Sneak Peak:
- Under 5 minute set-up time
- Requires only THREE household items
- Multi-sensory and fine motor skills
- Works on problem-solving, cause-and-effect, counting and colors
- For ages 12 months+
This PomPom Tube Drop activity is very simple and only requires 3 items. Most of them you probably already have at home.
The pompom tube drop is a developmental activity that will help to improve fine motor skills (using the small muscles of the hands and fingers) and understanding cause-and-effect and problem-solving.
You can even add more learning opportunities during this activity by adding an abundance of vocabulary, counting, and color recognition.
I tend to save random household items that I know could be used for future activities, such as formula containers, egg cartons, and of course, paper towel rolls.
Although my husband hates me hoarding garbage, it comes in handy every once in awhile when I need to get creative!
Related Post: 9 Simple Ways to Get Your Toddler to Learn Their Colors
What you will need:
- Assorted color pom-poms
- Painter’s Tape
- A variety of empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls
Your toddler will love the bright colors and softness of the pompoms if you choose to use them. They’re also so versatile to use over and over on other DIY projects or activities.
However, you can also substitute the pompoms for other household objects you may have, such as snack pouch tops, 1″ cubes, or large
You’ll want to make sure you’re using painters tape if you’re sticking the tubes to any wall in which you care about so the tape easily comes off. If you’re doing this activity somewhere that you’re not afraid of running the paint or surface, and standard duct tape would do.
What to do:
1.Find an open flat, vertical surface, such as a wall or door.
2. Using painters tape, tape the paper towel and toilet paper rolls to the wall.
3. Align the tubes vertically or diagonally (with the tape horizontal) so when the objects are dropped in from the top they will fall out the bottom. Make it a fun maze by allowing the pompoms to drop from one tube into another. You can use any arrangement that you wish, as long as you make sure any tubes that are in vertical alignment are directly on top of each other so the object can fall through both of them.
4. Demonstrate to your child how to put a pompom or object into the top and see it drop.
5. Watch as they can’t wait to get started on their own.
6. Teach them to use a pincer grasp (thumb and pointer only) to grab each pompom one-at-a-time.
7. To go one step further for an older toddler who is learning colors and counting, have them name each color as they put it in the tube or call out a color and have them pick that one up. They can also count each pompom as they put it in or place each color into piles and count them before they put them in.
Note: Be careful if your toddler still tends to put things in their mouth as these are small enough to be choking hazards.
Related Post: Edible Finger Paint for Toddlers
Skills that this activity addresses
Play is one of the best ways to encourage our children to learn everyday. So many activities are teaching and encouraging your child, even though they may not even know it.
They can learn new vocabulary, problem-solving, cause and effect, shapes, sizes, colors, animals, and so many more skills through everyday play.
You can pretty much find skills that will be improved through any playtime activity. For this Pompom Tube Drop activity, the following skills are being strengthened for our toddlers:
- Language/Vocabulary: Hearing and talking about different objects (pompom, tube, hole, soft, fuzzy, colors, numbers)
- Cognition: Learning and understanding new concepts (drop, top/bottom, fall, sort colors, counting)
- Fine motor skills: Strengthening and coordinating the muscles of their hands by using a pincer grasp to hold onto the pompoms. Also, working on bilateral coordination (using two hands together in different ways) by transferring the pompoms hand-to-hand and
- Sensory: Feeling and seeing different textures can be calming or stimulating for a child. They will get to explore the softness of the pompom and hardness of the tubes.
Related Post: Painting with Water: A Clean Toddler Sensory Activity
Ways to incorporate cognition and language
You really can and SHOULD incorporate cognition (knowledge) and language into any activity you are doing with your little one. Just merely talking through the steps that they’re performing will help build their vocabulary and understanding about new words and concepts.
Remember that your toddler is constantly listening and absorbing everything around them, including language. Repetition and overuse dramatically increase your child’s ability to learn and retain new words.
Here are a few ways to build cognition and language during this activity:
- This is a great way to practice colors. Point to a pompom and say or ask, This is pink or What color is this?
- Ask them to point to the green pompoms, pink pompoms, etc.
- Work on concepts like in, out, on top, bottom, up, down, fast, slow, under, sort, count
- Vocabulary words such as pompoms, tubes, colors, numbers, drop
Ways to work on fine motor skills
Fine motor skills allow us to use the small muscles of our hands and fingers. They enable us to grab, manipulate, turn, twist, and hold objects.
Bilateral coordination also allows us to use both hands together in a coordinated manner usually to transfer objects and stabilize with one hand to manipulate with the other.
This activity can help develop these skills in a variety of ways.
- Have your child only use a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up and sort pompoms.
- Transfer the pompoms from one hand to another.
- Practice holding many pompoms in one hand, but just letting go of one at a time.