I spent my Saturday afternoon making pom pom animals, what did you do?
Over the weekend I bought two of my grandchildren a set with pom pom makers in it and we spend several hours happily making pom pom animals. I bought the sets so that they would each have their own french knitting spool, but initially it was the pom pom makers that fascinated them the most.
Both girls (ages 10 and 7) have done french knitting at Grandmas house before so the novelty factor has worn off a little.
Making your Pom Poms
To make your pom pom animals you will first need to make your pom poms. The kids will want to be able to make pom poms in a couple of different sizes so that they can use the larger ones for the bodies and smaller ones for the heads.
- pom pom maker of your choice or 2 pieces of cardboard cut into the shape of a doughnut (a circle with a hole in the middle)
- scrap wool (yarn) in a variety of colours
- a pair of scissors (small scissors work better but need stricter supervision with young children)
- a plastic bag or jar to collect the short cuts of yarn (to use in other kids craft activities - waste not want not...)
The pom pom maker my girls used was the one that came in their French Knitting Bee sets and we found these to be very easy for them to use. One of the girls had her dominant arm in a sling (the result of a trampolining incident earlier in the week) and she still managed to make her pom poms without too much assistance.
I also have the looms (which I prefer) and the Birch pom pom maker (which I really do not like). In years past, I have also used card-board to make my own doughnut shaped looms to make pom poms, which has the advantage of being scale-able (you can make pom poms whatever size you please with hand made cardboard doughnut looms).
If you are going to buy one, I would recommend the type that came in the girls French Knitting Bee sets. They are sold separately so you don't have to buy it in a set unless you really want to.
Regardless of which pom pom maker you use, the kids wrap the wool (yarn) around the loom (tool, or doughnut) until there is a nice thick layer of yarn and they cannot see any of the plastic or cardboard through the wool.
Leave a reasonably long tail on your pom poms when you are making them.
You can use them to join pom poms together and if you don't end up using them, they can always be trimmed off later.
With the looms and the tool my girls used, you tie a piece of wool around the centre of the pom pom and put it tight (an adult might need to help to make sure the knot is tight and will not come undone by itself). The edges around the pom pom can now be cut using the small scissors to form the pom pom.
With the cardboard doughnut or Birch Pom Pom maker the yarn is cut first. Then a piece of yarn is tied around the middle of the clump of yarn before being removed from the card board or pom pom maker.
If you are choosing between the Birch tool and cardboard, I find that it is much easier to use the cardboard doughnut method. Probably just a personal preference, but when it comes to kids crafts, the more they can do themselves the better. So opting for the easier way of doing something is probably a smart idea!
If you would like to know more specifically about how to make pom poms with or without a loom or template, check out my page on making pom poms.
Instructions for Making Pom Pom Animals:
The animals that you can make with your kids are only limited by their imaginations. So I suggest that you provide them with as many options as you can when they are making pom pom animals, you might be surprised with what they come up with!
What you will need:
- googly eyes,
- scraps of felt in a variety of colours to cut out shapes for ears, noses etc
- coloured card (good for foot shapes etc)
- glitter or glitter glue (optional)
- pipe cleaners or straws for legs, arms, antenna etc
- more wool for tails or anything else they can think of
- old buttons
- craft needle (blunt needle for threading yarn through the pom poms)
- textas, crayons, or felt tips pens
- craft glue
- safety scissors
Prepare the kids work space by putting down a drop cloth (can get messy with glue etc) and set out all of their "bits and pieces" within easy reach. Pom poms can be joined together using a craft needle to thread the tail of one pom pom through the center of another.
If you want the join to be fairly sturdy, you can put a drop or two of craft glue on one of the pom pom after you have threaded the tail through but before you push them together and fasten off the tail.
Once the kids have created their basic animal shapes with the pom poms, they can decorate them in any way they chose using the "bits and pieces" you have organised for them.
Ideas for basic animal shapes:
- String a number of pom poms the same size together to create a caterpillar,snake or lizard shape.
- Join a couple of small pom poms together to form arms (and legs) and attach them to a large pom pom for the body. A medium pom pom for the head and you have any animal with arms and legs.
- Use a large pom pom as the shell of a snail (tail and head can be made using card or felt).
- Or add two small white pom poms as eyes to a large pom pom and you have the head and body of a frog (with card cut out for feet).
Want more detailed ideas?
These friendly insects are so cute as yard stakes or to sit in your pot plants inside. If you have to have insects inside, these are the best kind to have!
Click here for step by step instructions
Pom Pom Caterpillar
Now that you have shown your kids how to make pom poms, how about making a pom pom caterpillar? The hardest part is making the pom poms, the rest is really easy and your kids will end up with a curly caterpillar to decorate their room with.
Click here for instructions on how to make a Pom Pom Caterpillar