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Stop Light Pom Pom Sorting

Andrea Sanchez

This week we have guest blogger Nikki Wagner sharing a fun pom pom activity for your kiddos! You can find Nikki in our Winter 2015 collection as the designer of the Sylvan Hat and Mittens, as well as on her blog, or on Ravelry. I've said it before, but she makes the best pom poms.

This week I made pom pom sorting activity for my little man in hopes that I could use up stashed yarn and find a new a fun way for him to pass time. And boy do I love to find a project that uses up my yarn stash! Make this project your own, as these instructions are a guideline to give you the basic idea of what we created.  I like crafts that are easy and fun, and with a toddler that is worth its weight in gold, amiright!? 

In my yarn stash I have some red, green and yellow - voilà - stop light colors!  Also, making 9 pom poms with 3 colors seemed attainable for me, so I went with the stop light theme. You could really do any colors that you have (and nix the stop light theme), this is really just a two-birds-with-one stone kind of way to get rid of some yarn and occupy the kiddo with a fun activity. 

In essence: Two bowls are stapled together at the rims with bottoms outward to make what I’ll refer to as a “bucket”.  One bowl is cut along the top so that little hands can stuff the color-matching pom-pom into the color-matching bucket (aka color sorting). You make three buckets and string them together and there you have it, a stash-busting, pom-pom sorting activity. 

Age Level:

Toddler (Knittin' Little note: Sorting by attribute is an important skill that students are practicing through preschool and into Kindergarten!) 

What we used:

  • Green, red and yellow yarn, approximately 20 g of each, and a little extra for yarn scrap in the color of your choice. 
  • Pom-pom maker (affiliate link)
  • 6 paper bowls
  • Stapler with staples
  • Green, red and yellow markers
  • Poster tack
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors 

Make your buckets: 

  1. First, have your child color on the bottom side of one bowl with a red marker.  If he or she can’t color the entire bottom of a bowl (like mine), no worries, just encourage him/her to color enough to recognize which color should be sorted into that bucket.  
  2. Then check out the artwork on the bottom of the bowl and pick the area where you want to cut an opening. More specifically, measure 2” from the top and make a mark so that you’ll have an idea of where the cut should be made.  Then cut across the top of the bowl to create an opening.  
  3. Choose an unmarked bowl to be the backside of the bucket.  Take the cut/red-colored bowl and match the rim together with the unmarked bowl, then staple the two bowls together with the bottoms facing outward. I used only two staples on each side of the bucket along the rim. 
  4. Punch a hole at the very top of the bucket and punch a matching hole at the very bottom of the bucket. 
  • Repeat steps 1-4 Substituting a yellow and then green marker to make yellow and green buckets. Now you have your three buckets: red, yellow and green.


  • I am in love with my pom-pom maker and for this project I made my 9 pom-poms with a small pom-pom maker; 3 pom poms for each color.  Use approximately 5g of yarn for each pom pom.  If you do not own a pom-pom maker and want to try to make a pom-pom here is a helpful video tutorial by Bernat Yarns:


  • Cut a 11” piece of scrap yarn in your choice of color with which to hang your pom pom stoplight. Then cut that 11” piece of yarn into 3 separate and smaller pieces: 1 piece – 5” long and 2 pieces – 3” long each. 
  • The red bucket is placed on top. With the 5” long piece of scrap yarn, thread the yarn through the top hole of the red bucket.  Secure the ends of the yarn with a tight knot. 
  • Take a 3” piece of yarn and thread it through the bottom hole in the red buck and through the top hole of the yellow bucket, and then secure it with a tight knot. 
  • Take another 3” piece of yarn and thread it through the bottom hole in the yellow bucket and through the top hole of the green bucket, and then secure it with a tight knot.
  • Optional: Place a little piece of poster tack on the back of each bucket to hold the buckets in place along the wall. Not crucial, but a nice touch. 

Hang your creation with the yarn attached to the top of the red bucket, we used a wall tack to secure it to the wall. Get sorting! 

If you make this activity with your littles, be sure to share it with us on Instagram using #knittinlittle or tagging us @knittinlittle.

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