I have twin boys, in case you are not someone that follows or knows me. They are almost three (I can’t believe it and have no idea how that happened) and they are busy, busy, BUSY! I’m constantly on the look out for something that will not only occupy some of their time, but also be time well spent. I’ve seen, and pinned, a million (ok maybe not a million), but a plethora of ways to keep them busy.
Color sorting is an important skill for toddlers to learn, it’s one of those basic bits of knowledge that other things are built upon. As I
walked scrambled down the aisles of Hobby Lobby one day, trying to keep my cool as small hands reached for anything and everything, I came across the section that holds the thousands of pom poms. Those cotton ball things that look like cotton, only more colorful and craft worthy. Instantly, I decided that I needed several large bags of the assorted colors and shapes because I was on a mission to jump into color sorting 101. A few weeks later (yes, a few weeks, this was a slow going mission) I purchased the large plastic bin with lid from Wally World and we were on our way.
My sensory bin with pom poms has been fabulous. The boys look forward to it and love to use the tongs to pick up the colors. There are so many ways this can be used for mini teachable moments, however, don’t get discouraged if your little ones use your bin contents as ammo. You will likely find remnants of your color sorting activity for days to come. The beauty of this one is that it’s not really messy. If you find one under the couch a week later, no biggie, it’s not morphed into a strange creature. If you step on one in the middle of the night, you won’t go screaming and asking the great Almighty why this has happened to you! You won’t even be sweeping up for days, unable to get the little grains stuck in the grout. It’s lovely, really.
Mostly at this point we use our bin to simply sort the colors into matching bowls or cups. They were none too interested when I suggested that this be done with their hands. So, I ordered these lovely, plastic tweezers from Amazon and suddenly the activity has been given new life. This usually keeps them busy for a good 15-20 minutes or until Will decides to sit in the box. At that point, Bradley begins crying and screaming, “No, Willllllll!” Then, Drew usually comes running and man-handles Will until he’s crying and all the pom poms have been kicked out of the box. It’s not perfect, what can I say?
Some other ways this sensory bin can be used:
1. Basic color sorting into matching cups. (Yes, I know we’ve already covered this, this is simply for my peace of mind and the order I like to pretend to uphold).
2. If you purchase the bag with assorted sizes, you automatically have sorting by colors and size…sheer brilliance!
3. A race (for kiddos willing and able) using fingers or tweezers, collect one at a time and try to fill the other child’s cups (matching colors, of course). Child with the highest number wins. You can make them take a total, you can total each color. For older kiddos, you can even have them graph the number in each cup.
4. Place a number beside each cup. The child must fill each cup with the designated number of pom poms.
5. Break out your ABC cards. Choose a colored pom pom and say the sound of its first letter. For example, “I pulled out a purple, what letter does purple start with? It makes a p-p-p sound.” Once they figure out the letter they can place the pom pom on the P card. You can even have them close their eyes to choose one so they don’t go for the same one every time.
Just a few ideas. If you have some more, I’d love to hear them, add them in the comments below 🙂