Tying shoes, buttoning buttons and using a fork are all basic tasks that require good motor skills. As a parent, you play a critical role in helping your child develop these important skills. While a toddler may not be ready to learn how to tie their shoes, there are games you can play while they are young to help their bodies learn and grow.

Here are three fun games to play with your toddler that require little more than a few colorful craft pom poms.

  1. Follow the line

To do this activity, trace a line on a piece of paper. Show your toddler how to place the pom poms carefully on top of the drawn line until they have covered it completely.  You can make this task more challenging by asking your child to form a pattern with the poms using different colors or writing a word on the paper instead of a line.

  1. Whisked away

Fill a kitchen whisk with pom poms and allow your child to take them out and put them back in, one at a time. Maneuvering little fingers around the loops takes focus and patience. You can make it more challenging by asking your child to find a certain color rather than pulling at random.

  1. Floating bullseye

For this activity you’ll need a container of water (a large storage tub, a sink or even a bath tub would work) a pool noodle, a set of tongs or a grocery store clip, and your pom poms. Slice the pool noodles horizontally into small slices about two or three inches thick. Place these noodle pieces into the water so they can stand on end with the hole open in the center. Throw the pom poms in the water and allow your toddler to pick up the pom poms one at a time with the tongs and try to get them into the hole.

This activity could be done without the water but having the targets moving slightly on the water adds a nice challenge. You can make it even harder by asking your child to match the pom pom color to the pool noodle color.

The most important part of any learning game for a young child is doing it with an engaged adult who encourages them and makes the activity fun. This interaction sets up a love of learning that will continue with them for years to come.