Baby Play: Pom Pom Drop

After each of my baby storytimes, I include a Discovery Time free-play session that encourages parents to talk to one another and to interact with their children. I include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to 0-2-year-olds.

I’ve been interested in creating a large pom pom drop for a while, and I finally had the opportunity when a coworker donated over 20 empty Pringles cans to the youth department. Walking babies and toddlers particularly enjoyed grasping the 2″ pom poms and watching them fall through the colorful tubes.

In addition to developing those ever-important fine motor skills, little ones learned about cause and effect as they dropped pom poms through different tubes at different heights.

How to Make

Materials: hard backing material (we used leftover insulation board from a previous project), empty Pringles cans, construction paper, hot glue, packing tape, sharp kitchen knife, 2″ pom poms

Steps:

  • Enforce edges of backing material as needed to make sure nothing is sharp or peeling.
  • Use sharp, large kitchen knife to cut empty Pringles cans to a variety of lengths. At a minimum, the knife works great to cut an inch or so above the metal bottom of the can, removing all of the sharp bits in one cut. (There are tutorials online about using a can opener for this process, but I could never get it to work cleanly without something sharp being left behind.)
  • Measure your cut can’s length. Cut a piece of construction paper to the same length.
  • Optional: Laminate the construction paper for extra durability.
  • Wrap the construction paper around the can and tape it on securely.
  • Hot glue construction-paper-wrapped cans to the backing materials.
  • As needed, further secure each can by wrapping packing tape around the front to secure it to the board.

Cost: $20+ (cost depends on backing material and number of pom poms)

Time to Make: 30 minutes

Pro-Tip: Ball pit balls also fit through Pringles cans! If you have limited resources, ball pit balls have many uses and are easier to clean than pom poms.

Conversation Starters

Start conversations as babies play with this tool by asking questions like:

  • Can you drop the pom pom in a tube?
  • What happens when the pom pom goes into a tube?
  • What color is the pom pom?
  • How does the pom pom feel?
  • What happens if the tube is at an angle?
  • How many pom poms can you drop through the tubes?
  • Can you catch a falling pom pom?

Stretch Vocabulary

When talking with little ones, use big words and small words. The more new words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary will be when they start to learn to read.

Consider using some of the following vocabulary words when using this activity:

Bright
Cloud
Colorful
Down
Downy
Drop

Fall
Fluffy
Fuzzy
Plunge
Roll
Round

Slide
Soft
Spherical
Squishy
Texture
Through

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