Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rainbow Pom Pom Chutes

Over spring break, we went to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum, which is wonderful! There were lots of great activities there, and many of them were different from other children's museums that we have been to before. This activity is somewhat inspired by this rainbow shaped ball drop at the museum, which I looked at and wondered, How can I take this idea and replicate it at home? I had seen this idea on Pinterest, and decided to take the tubes and try to make more of a rainbow shape with them.

{This was my inspiration...}
{and here is what I came up with.}

The idea is to do color matching and drop the pom poms down the corresponding colored tubes. This is not how it always turned out, in actuality, of course! This did get messy as the pom poms didn't always land in the bin. Plus, my kids got wild and pom poms ended up all over the living room. They also had to learn not to cram too many pom poms into the tubes at once or they would, of course, get stuck. However, this triggered some problem solving as well. Logan was excited when he was able to poke a marker into a tube and get the pom poms unjammed. Even though my chutes don't really look like a rainbow as I had hoped, they were simple to make with items from the recycling bin and a bag of Dollar Tree pom poms. More, importantly, it was fun for both kids. And it's held up so far...

  • 6 cardboard tubes
  • paint (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • paint brushes
  • boxboard or cardboard
  • hot glue gun
  • something for tubes to dry on (I used the liner from a cereal box.)
  • clear tape
  • pom poms (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple; small enough to fit inside tubes)
  • container to drop pom poms into
  • Chopsticks for Kids (optional)
  1. Collect 6 empty cardboard tubes. I used paper towel rolls, but toilet paper rolls would work also. Your chutes will just be shorter. This might actually be better in that it may help prevent log-jams, but it's up to you what size to use.
  2. Protect your work surface before painting. I used the liner from a cereal box, which is basically free "wax" paper. You could use newspaper, but sometimes tubes stick to this while they are drying, so I prefer to save the cereal box liners for paint projects.
  3. Paint each tube one color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I used powdered tempera paints for this. You could also use acrylic paints, but be aware that they will stain fabric. I believe I just did one coat of paint, but you could apply more coats if you want it to look better. I just wanted it to be functional. Allow paint to dry completely. Tip: Foam paint brushes work very well for painting tubes.
  4. Use hot glue to affix the tubes to the boxboard or cardboard. I used the side of a cereal box. Allow glue to dry. I tried to arch mine to resemble the rainbow ball drop that we had seen at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum. I don't know how successful this was. You could glue them in a straight line if you prefer.
  5. Use clear tape to adhere the the boxboard to a wall.
  6. Place a container underneath the tubes and let kids drop colored pom poms into the corresponding colored tubes. They can use their hands, Chopsticks for Kids, or tongs for this. Note: This is not a mess-free activity, but it's not difficult to clean up.
{See the yellow pom pom dropping?}

{Look! The marker worked! Tube = unstuck!}

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