Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Popping poppers, pop toys or krazy poppers – I’ve seen them called all sorts of things but they started life as a sensory toy (similar to the fidget spinner) and now they are turning up in all sorts of educational activities.
If you’d like to try these in your classroom, here are some of the best ways I’ve seen for using them in the early years classroom.
Write A-Z lower case letters in permanent marker on the popper (side shown... for some reason this is the nicest side to pop down). These poppers make great tools for segmenting and spelling words.
1. Sight Word Work
As students read the word, they can then say the word and pop the letters down that spell the Sight Word (be sure to only use this with Sight Word with no double letters in them – otherwise they need to pop them down twice).
2. Syllable Work
Just as students can clap out the syllables, they can also pop them down as they say them.
3. CVC Word Work
Similar to the Sight Word idea, students find the missing vowel to fit the Sight Word. For example, you can see the word ‘cat’ here is missing the ‘a’ so ask the student to press down the missing vowel from the popping sheet. They can then write it down and write the word out etc... It’s just another tool to build engagement with CVC Word Work.
You could also use the poppers for long and short vowel activities too.
4. One-to-one correlation activities
You can use little pom-poms, beans or marbles. Anything small that will fit nicely inside the popped poppers. They act like a little try for counting. You could write numbers inside or just leave them blank and let students count them out.
Start with several of the poppers upwards and then ask the student to count on to make 10 (for example) using the objects. You can place elastic bands around the popping toy to make 3 sets of 10 and treat them like ten frames with your ‘make ten’ activities.
6. Number recognition
Give students a number and let them place the correct number in the popping sheet. Alternatively, place the objects in the popping sheet and get students to select the correct number. Dice are also handy for this as students can roll a number and then place that many in the popping sheet.
Place a number of objects in a bowl and the same or different number of objects in the popping sheet. Then get students to count the objects in the bowl first and compare to the objects in the popping sheet. Are they the same or different?
8. Ordinal number work
For this task, it is easiest to write numbers on the popping sheet 1 to 10. Ask the student to push a number down on the sheet (for example push the 3rd popper down).
I’d love to know of any other ideas you have used. Comment below.