Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Glittery Pom Pom Math

Pom pom math was wildly popular with all the children but it was tough for all six children to maintain interest while waiting such a long time for their turn. I did have other activities set out but EVERYONE wanted to play this game first so I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice patience and turn taking skills. 

Materials: A large bowl full of glittery, multicolored pom poms, smaller bowls for each color pom pom and giant die. 

(*I placed all these items on a lazy susan to make it easier to pass the game since we had so many children playing at once.)

Rules: Each player tosses the dice then counts the spots. The child chooses the correct number of glittery pom poms then places them in the matching colored bowl.

Skills: counting, matching colors, fine motor skills, turn taking and one to one correspondence.

The children decided to work together on this project in the way I had set it up until each person had two turns. The entire process took about 15 minutes - not bad for a bunch of two and three year olds!

After the initial novelty of the game wore off, many of the children wandered in and out of the game. This was okay by me since the children who were really focused stayed for a long time and didn’t have the distraction of bored friends doing other things at our table. (The wanderers had plenty of other fun things to work on independently.)

Most of our children are two so they are working on counting correctly. Often when these guys count, they say the numbers in correct sequence but they do not come up with the correct cardinal number at the end. For instance they might have a die showing six dots and they counted to 10. This is because they tend to hop around while counting rather than counting in an orderly sequence. This skill is known as one to one correspondence and is an important math concept. 

We practiced counting s-l-o-w-l-y by placing a finger on each dot so we could figure out the correct number of dots on the dice. 

As the game progressed, the children came up with some creative ways to use the materials to further their understanding.

Some children placed a pom pom on each dot to make the number more concrete...



Some children focused on filling the entire surface of the die with pom poms then we counted the pom poms...

and other children decided to just focus on the color sorting aspect of the game...

   In the end we learned that we can all be creative in making up the "rules" to a game as long as everyone has a turn at having fun.


  1. I think it's really important to point out that at no matter what stage of learning the child is at you focus on harvesting their particular level and allow them to explore and learn at their speed. My child is lucky to have you as a teacher and mentor.

  2. Thanks! I think more often than not the kids are my teachers and mentors but alas I am a very slow learner and need lots of great teachers :) It is my intention to create an environment in which children learn to accept peers where ever they are in their development so that when they get out into mainstream prek or school envrionment, they have a more accepting attitude toward ALL children. Working in a group of peers at varying developmental levels is a great way to foster positive attitude toward the inclusive classrooms these guys will be moving into. It's really empowering for children on both ends of the cognitive spectrum to participate in activities together. Plus confident kids are cool kids and we all want our kids to be the cool kids right?