For a mere $6 you can order a bag of pompoms off Amazon. The ability pompoms have to keep your toddler busy is rather impressive. And you can sit back, relax, and know that your kid is building developmental skills from fine motor to object permanence. It is a true win for everyone.
You can start just stuffing your kitchen whisk full of pompoms (and maybe get some dinner prepped at the same time). Your child will be working on their pincer grasp as they pinch each pompom out, and general fine motor as they squish them all back in. If your child is anything like mine they will fling and shake the pompoms loose as well, ensuring their gross motor gets a little work too.
Next, I poked a hole in the top of a shoe box (any container would work) and gave Anderson a handful of pompoms. He loved pushing them through the hole as he developed fine motor and coordination skills. He found the pompoms in the box all of his own accord, which showed me his sense of object permanence was also getting a workout.
We had our friend Grayson over to play, so I thought it was time for some baby science. We froze pompoms in icecube trays. Then gave the boys a little sensory play as they explore the cold sensation of the cubes. I also gave them a little bowl of warm water to dip the cubes in and help free the pompoms. As Anderson helped me freeze the cubes, and as the boys watched them melt I used the chance to talk about the different states of water. I am confident they retained zero of it. But I used the chance anyway to explain that when you make the water really cold it turns solid, but when you warm it up again it returns to a liquid.
If your child is a little older you could give them a mallet and do this activity outside. They can work those gross motor skills as they hammer out the pompoms.
Last but not least, I took the pompom activities vertical. I taped some toilet paper and paper towel tubes to the wall and gave the boys a bowl of pompoms. I demonstrated how you can drop them through the cubes. They had so much fun picking them up, dropping them down and giggling as they saw them fall out the bottom. It is another great fine motor workout too!