Use these Printable Ocean Themed Pom Pom Mats to help your child learn about underwater creatures, from a cute little turtle to the quirky puffer fish!
When I walk into toy stores these days, my head spins sometimes. There are so many complicated toys with so many electronic features, I’m almost scared to touch them!
While these toys may have their own benefits, I still think that simple toys are the best. Not only because they are easier to handle, but also because they often offer more opportunities for open-ended play. Take play-dough for example – is there anything you can’t make out of it?
Another great example is pretend food. Open up your restaurant, have a cooking show or simply have a tea party – so many ideas! And of course, the toys you make yourself are the best, like these DIY Waldorf Dolls or little accessories to make for your Barbie!
So today, we’ve got something that can be made yourself, is multi purpose and suitable for all ages. And also – one hundred percent free!! Here are our printable ocean themed pom pom mats that can be used with so much more than just pom poms!
Printable Ocean Themed Pom Pom Mats
- Color printouts of the Ocean Themed Pom Pom Mats
- Colored Pom poms
- Buttons in different colors
- Play dough in different colors
- Chalk Markers
How to Use the Printable Ocean Themed Pom Pom Mats:
1. Make sure you print out the Ocean Themed Pom Pom Mats on good quality, thick paper or card stock. To make them extra durable, laminate the sheets so that they can withstand hours of play.
2. Enhancing hand eye coordination with Pom Poms – Hand your child a cup of multicolored pom poms and a tweezer. Just make sure the tweezer doesn’t have pointed edges. Now start with one of the sea creature mats and show your child how she can pick up a pom pom with a tweezer and place it on a circle on the creature.
You can do this process in steps. Start off using only fingers to place the pom poms. Then move on to tweezers or a clothes peg. Don’t worry about matching colors at this stage. Use different sizes of pom poms for more variety in the challenge.
3. Matching Colors with Buttons – Get the brightest, most colorful buttons you can find and put them together in a cup. Now ask your child to place a button on the circle of the matching color on the sea creature. For more of a sensory experience, use buttons of different textures – plastic, wood, metal etc.
4. Practicing fine motor skills with Play dough – Now you know why we recommend laminating the mats! Get the mini tubs of different colored play dough. Let the kids try to make little flat discs and place them on the colored circles. At the beginning, just focus on getting the shape and placing it on the mat. Later, start trying to match the color.
5. Getting imaginative with Chalk Markers – All the sea creatures on our pom pom mats are cute in themselves, but that doesn’t stop you from getting extra creative! Let the kids add eyelashes, a bow tie or sunglasses – don’t limit their imagination by telling them it’s ‘wrong’ for a starfish to look cool!
6. Learning about Sea Creatures – These pom pom mats cover the most common sea creatures kids are likely to come across in books, TV or while visiting an aquarium. Use this as an opportunity to learn some uncommon facts about these creatures – it’s a great way to get them interested in natural sciences! Here are some to start you off:
- Sea turtles can remove salt from sea water when they have to drink it
- An octopus has three hearts
- A crab’s eye contains hundreds of tiny lenses
- A blue whale’s heart is as big as a Volkswagen Beetle car.
- Starfishes have no brains.
Now those are some interesting facts, right? A little trivia like this and you’ll have the kids asking for more information about the animals. Come to think of it, these printable ocean themed pom pom mats are for kids of all ages – from toddlers exercising their finger muscles, to preschoolers learning colors to older kids who’ll enjoy the fun facts! When was the last time you had something that the whole family could use?