A quick and easy time filler. We did this while waiting to go and watch the Reception nativity as it is fast and mess-free.


  • Mixed coloured pom-poms
  • Bowls
  • Letters


Step 1: Display some mixed coloured pom-poms. Put the initial letter sound of the required colours in to the bowls. We used ‘r’, ‘w’ and ‘g’ for Christmas colours.

Step 2: Sort the pom-poms into the correct bowl. This was the right level for my 3 year old, but younger children could just have a coloured pom-pom in the bowl to match.

A few minutes in Finn went and fetched an ‘o’ and requested another bowl. He sorted all the orange pom-poms into it. When I asked him whether orange was a Christmas colour, he pointed to the Christmas tree. Orange is his favourite colour so we have a lot of orange baubles. Trying to find an orange decoration every year can be quite a challenge so we might as well celebrate his achievements!

Once the orange pom-poms were sorted, he pointed to the remaining colours and sounded out the start of the word. He fetched the letters, and wanted to differentiate between the dark blue and light blue.


To work on fine motor skills, you could use tools to transfer the pom-poms. A favourite of ours is children’s chopsticks.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 02 – Understanding:

Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively.