When out with toddlers and young children, it is helpful to have activities on hand to entertain. Ideally, activities should be quick to prepare, versatile – with multiple play options, and easy to pack. Fortunately, I have numerous ideas up my sleeve (and I enjoy testing them). So, here’s something I threw together for a long day out. It worked so well, my toddler was requesting to play with it again today.
This activity is based on a game I used in a pre-k classroom. I have adapted it for a Make and Take Pack by removing all structure and allowing my toddler to play as he likes.
NOTE: Younger children can only play independently for short bursts of time, so many Make and Take Packs will only entertain toddlers if you are on hand to participate or observe.
If you have children over 3, the preparation for this Make and Take Pack makes a fun rainy day activity. If you have younger children, it is probably better to throw it together yourself.
- Alone: about 3 minutes
- With kids: about 10-15 minutes
- 2-3 pom-poms (per child)
- 2-3 pipe cleaners (per child)
- straws (different colors)
- scissors (safety scissors if using with children)
- a small bag or small box to store activity in
- Wrap one end of the pipe cleaner around a pom pom to make a “PomPom Stick”
- Chop straws into pieces (kids love this, plus it is great scissor practice)
Play time! Kids enjoy:
- threading straws onto PomPom Sticks
- taking straws off again
- counting straws
- matching colors
- making patterns
- waving the PomPom Sticks
- and much more…
Bonus game (for 4-6 year olds)
- Give each child 3 PomPom Sticks.
- Take turns rolling a dice.*
- Count the dots and thread an equal number of straws onto the PomPom Sticks.
- Try to fill each stick with 10 straws
- Or… play in reverse:
Remove straws, based on the roll of a dice, and try to be the first person to get down to zero!
For quick and fun clean up: race kids to find all the “red” straws, then all the “yellow” straws, until everything is cleaned up.