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Learning with Pom-Poms: Color Matching and Early Literacy

I saw this great Pom Poms and Cardboard Tubes activity for babies from How We Montessori on Pinterest and set it up for Caterpillar. Wild Thing (my 2.5 yo) also enjoyed putting the pom poms down the tube, so I decided to create a pom pom-tube activity that included some key learning elements for him.

I put pipe cleaners around toilet paper rolls for color matching and put our color magnets above the rolls. Plus, I wrote the color names on each magnet. I added this early literacy element because Wild Thing's color matching is pretty solid, and he has started making the connection of letters meaning something -- when we go for walks, he loves to tell me that S-T-O-P spells stop (more often, he says P-O-T-S spells stop, but he's still getting the concept). 

I didn't point out the words to him, but he immediately noticed them and starting telling me the letters. This provided a great opportunity for me to point out that R-E-D spells Red. I would then ask him what it spelled and, of course, he answered correctly because he knew the color. Was he actually reading the words? No, but he is recognizing that those letters create a specific word. 

As the activity evolved, we added the circle toys and muffin liners below the toilet paper rolls. He really loved trying to drop the pom pom through the tube so that it would land in the circle or muffin liner. I like the fine motor skill aspect of this activity, and eventually we also integrated counting into the activity as he tried to see how many pom poms he could get in each circle or muffin liner.

With counting, early literacy/pre-reading, color matching and motor skill development all rolled into one very low-cost and simple activity (that kept him occupied for quite some time while I did dishes and prepared dinner), this activity ranks very high for me as a go-to, fun learning exercise -- a major thank you to How We Montessori for inspiring this learning activity.


  1. What a FUN activity! Love it! I might need to try this!

  2. We have a bunch of pom poms! This looks fun!

  3. I love this! I'm pinning to do with my three year old.

  4. What a great idea and learning on so many levels

  5. love this, such a simple idea, I'm sharing on the Kids Coop FB page

  6. Super cute! So simple and interactive. I'm saving this idea for my littlest try try when the bigger ones go back to school--she'll love it! Thanks!

  7. Oh my twins would love this - top of my to do list!

  8. A wonderful, inexpensive activity to reinforce color concepts! And, fun too! ~heather

  9. i love how it's set up at little hand's level. thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday!

  10. This is such a cute activity. My 2 year old is really into color sorting right now and the fun of this set up would be right up her alley!

  11. Love this activity and my son (also 2.5) would, too. Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase! :) I've pinned it to our feature board.

  12. What a great idea! I am always looking for fun ways to teach my kids and this is perfect! I really like that you made it a fun activity for younger and older children, since I have both too!
    I would love for you to share this on our made for or by kids linky

  13. THAT is such a cute game/ activity. Wonderful. I love it.

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  14. So fun! Isn't it amazing how many things you can do with toilet paper rolls!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. How great is it when they start learning while they are playing? So many teachable moments! :)

    I love how you used the colored rings from a ring stacker in the game as well! Great to repurpose other toys for a new game!

    Thanks for linking up to my Play to Learn blog hop!

  16. Jen,I love this! Thank for linking to our play based learning hop. We're live again and would love for you to add another great idea.

  17. love it! it looks easy and fun.


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