Friday, June 7, 2013

Drop, Pop, & Measure [Math with Pom Pom Poppers]

Some activities are a sure thing when it comes to fun. This is one of them. I knew it from the second I saw the Pom Pom Poppers made by Laura at Come Together Kids.

Supplies you need are scissors, plastic disposable drinking cups (two per popper), balloons (one per popper), and some pom pom balls.

Nest two cups together, one inside the other (two cups provides more stability). Cut the bottom third of the cups off with scissors and discard. Now take a balloon and tie it closed (do not inflate). Cut the tip of the balloon off (the end opposite the knot). Stretch the balloon over the rim (not the cut side) of the two cut plastic cups. Laura's tutorial is amazing; check it out here.

Once the poppers were ready, my sons could barely contain themselves. My oldest boy's mouth was like a machine gun shooting out question after question. "What are we going to do with these?" "They're drums right?" "Is it another kind of instrument?"

Without uttering a word, I grabbed a bag of pom poms, dropped one in the cup, pulled the tie on the balloon back and popped the ball into the air.

My sons' eyes got big and their chins dropped.

I grabbed a measuring tape and some blue painters tape to make a line to stand behind. The goal was to see who could launch a pom pom the farthest.

My oldest son recorded the distances in inches.

The simple act of documenting the launch distances had so many wonderful lessons:
  • How many pom poms of any given color were launched?
  • Can you turn those inches into feet?
  • Can you put them in order from least distance to greatest distance?
  • How much farther did your farthest pom pom go than the next farthest, etc.?
  • What was the average distance of your pom poms?

As we continue to get hammered with more and more rain, I was thrilled to provide an indoor learning activity that provided so much fun!


  1. We have made these poppers before but we just randomly shot things all over the place. This is a great way to make it educational without killing the fun! Thanks for the idea!

  2. I've made them too and they are a blast! But making them educational is brilliant!!! You have the BEST ideas! Thanks!

  3. ITA, you make learning so fun!

  4. Mind. Blown. Again...thanks! :-)

  5. I just got the idea off Pintrest to use these poppers for doing 10 partners (put 10 pom pons in the cup and pop it. How many are out on the table? How many are left in the cup?) Again, another fun way to learn!