Monday, June 9, 2014

Shape shooting pom pom game

Whilst looking on Internet the other night, I came across an activity found on They used a cup and balloon to project pom poms into the air. What a brilliant idea. I just had to try it out with my daughter... probably because I wanted to have a go too.
For an additional educational twist, I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce shapes on the ground (made with masking tape) Bee would have to aim at them, promoting not only shape recognition, but space and measurement skills. I suppose this activity could be adapted by making letters, numbers and colours on the ground too.

Who can play?
I would recommend this activity for children aged 3 years and above, depending on the age and stage of development of the child.

I would only recommend using soft items in the pom pom shooter, such as pom poms or cotton balls. Harder materials could cause damage.
This activity required adult supervision, especially because of the use of balloons. They can cause a serious risk of choking.

What do you need?
  • Paper cup (I got mine free from the local coffee shop:-)
  • A balloon
  • Tape
  • Scissors to cut the cup and balloon
  • Pom poms or cotton balls
Questions you could ask:
  • Why do the pom poms shoot out of the cup when you pull the balloon?
  • Can you shoot the pom poms high/low/to the left or right?
What the Critique had to say about the activity:
"It's like the 4th July" Bee aged 3 thought the pom poms flying in the air, resembled fireworks.

What did we do?

The first thing we had to do was make the pom pom shooter. To do this you need to cut the end off a plastic cup
The next thing you have to do is tie the end of a balloon in a knot and then cut in half. 

Then tape the side of the balloon with the knot to the end of the cup.  Bee loved helping out at this part. You are then ready to start the fun.

At first I had to show Bee how to use the pom pom shooter. We filled the container with small pom poms and then by pulling on the end of the balloon and releasing, the pom poms shot out into the air. Bee's expression was priceless, she loved watching them go up and said "It's like's the 4th July!!" She repeated this activity for at least 10 minutes solid. Picking the pom poms up and then re-filling the cup. I obviously had to play too...just so that she did not feel like she was doing this on her own :-) It was great fun!

Judging by this cheesy, excited grin I think that this game is a big hit with her too.

After about 15 minutes of  exploring the pom pom shooter and developing our skills of puling the balloon back and releasing, I introduced some masking tape shapes on the ground, as target practice. I chose a square, rectangle and a triangle for the shapes, as I know Bee sometimes gets confused with their names. We used the pom pom shooters at first and then Bee decided to roll them (inventing her own game) This way she could get more pom poms on the shapes. Once all the pom poms had been rolled, we counted how many were on each and named the shapes.


What did we learn?
  • Communication and language-Listening to  instructions and following them. Talking about what she is seeing. Learning descriptive words such as pushing and pulling etc.
  • Physical development- Fine and large manipulative skills when using the pom pom shooter and refilling it. Hand eye coordination, control and aiming for an object
  • Personal, social and emotional- Making relationships, social skills such as turn taking. Fun and enjoyment. Making her own decisions and coming up with her own game.
  • Literacy- Developing muscles in her fingers, so that she can hold a pencil to write.
  • Mathematics- Learning her shapes, developing an awareness of space, measurement and counting.
  • Understanding of the world- Technology, by helping to make an object to project pom poms
  • Expressive arts and design- Creating patterns on the floor with the pom poms and using her imagination, by thinking that the pom poms looked like fireworks.
What could be done next?
  • Develop recording skills, by using a tally to  show how many pom poms you get in each square.  This could be made on a clip board, dry wipe board or if doing this activity outside with chalk on the floor.
  • Change the targets to letters, numbers or colours.
  • Experiment with different soft objects in the pom pom shooters, to see which one goes the furthest.

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