The dollar tree is the best place to find toddler activities.
How many times have you spent $15+ dollars on a toy only to realize your kid likes the box it came in better than the actual toy?
Or that they would rather empty your tupperware cabinet than play with that expensive Melissa and Doug kitchen set?
The novelty wears off so quickly at this age, the Dollar Tree is where it’s at! You just need a few dollars and a little creativity.
On my last trip to the Dollar Tree my goal was to create 10+ sensory bins on a budget.
I’ll post the rest soon, but this color sorting sensory activity is my daughter’s favorite at the moment!
This pom-pom scoop & transfer color sort requires no prep and will keep your toddler busily engaged in some educational sensory play!
All you need is a pack of pom poms and this cute flower shaped serving tray that I found at the Dollar Tree. I also purchased a $1 set of play kitchen utensils, but you could easily scoop the pom-poms using spoons from your kitchen.
The pom-poms provide a nice soft sensory experience while the scoop exercises fine motor practice and hand-eye coordination.
You can also build vocabulary by discussing the colors being sorted if you feel so inclined…
…or sit in silence and enjoy a few minutes of peaceful Instagram scrolling. 😉
Pom Pom Scoop & Transfer Color Sort
This activity is not intended for children who still put things in their mouths as the pom poms pose a choking hazard. Use at your own discretion. Adult supervision is required!
Materials (all from the Dollar Tree):
- Pom poms
- Flower shaped serving tray
- Small plastic storage bin (or you could dump the pom poms in a small bowl)
- Plastic toy kitchen utensils (optional)
The set-up for this activity really couldn’t be easier.
- Pour pom poms in bin.
- Place bin beside flower tray.
- Enjoy a quiet moment while your toddler plays!
I started by giving my 15 month old just the pom poms and the tray with no utensils. (She did try to taste the pom poms at first, but she quickly learned that the fuzzy texture was not pleasant on the tongue!)
My original plan was to encourage her sort them by color right off the bat, but she was too excited to grab them and drop them in the tray as quickly as she could!
It’s amazing how much time toddlers will spending simply transferring objects from one container to another!
She spent several minutes dumping the tray then putting the poms back repeatedly. It wasn’t what I had planned but it did allow me to cook breakfast uninterrupted which was the main goal! Plus she got to practice her fine motor skills by picking up the poms and placing them back in the tray.
Later, I broke out the play kitchen utensils and gave her the large spoon. She could not WAIT to get her hands on that thing! Scooping pom poms with a spoon required some skill since the poms are so lightweight and fall off easily. She was up for the challenge!
The next time we took out this bin, I sat with her and showed her how to sort the poms by color. This part took a little more practice, but she is catching on!
Not only is this activity a super cheap and easy way to keep your toddler entertained, it also naturally facilitates several essential developmental skills for toddlers:
- Fine motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Motor planning
- Color identification
We would love to see your final product! Share your Smush Paintings on Instagram and tag Happy Toddler Club using the hashtag #happytoddlerclub!