Having Fun with Pom Poms

There's lots of great pom pom crafts to make all year long... I made the following adapted pom pom  maker for individuals who have a weak grasp or increased muscle tone. The individual shown has left side hemiplegia and very good control in his right hand. He is able to wrap the yarn independently but I like to do some range of motion by gently stretching his left arm toward me while he works.

This adaptation can be used with hand over hand or partial assistance to grasp the handle and wrap the yarn.  The following is from my book The Recycling Occupational Therapist, page 34.

Wrapping yarn is a bilateral manipulation that requires good motor planning, visual attention, endurance and discrimination. The client must wrap the yarn until there is enough on the jig to make an attractive, full pom-pom. Higher functioning clients (parent or staff member) may complete the pom-pom by tying and cutting the yarn. 

The skill of wrapping yarn may be useful in prevocational activities. For example, a job may require a worker to wrap wire around a spool. Clients who lack the coordination and discrimination skills needed for lacing and sewing crafts may enjoy working with yarn in this fashion. 


Leather or other strong cutting shears or scissors

Large detergent bottle

Heavy-duty whole punch


Strong string or cord


  1. Cut the bottle along the dotted line and punch a hole.  (See A.) Tie one end of the yarn through the hole.
  2. The client grasps the handle with the non-dominant hand, and wraps the yarn around the cut-out area.

3. When there is enough yarn wrapped to produce a fully, bushy pom-pom, tie a piece of strong string around the yarn by slipping the string horizontally inside any part of the jig, tying the yarn that is running vertically. Cut the yarn so that equal amounts are on each side of the string. Remove the yarn from the jig. Fold the strands of yarn in half again. The string will be on one end.

4. Tie another string around the middle of the folded yarn.

5. Cut open the first folded end, remove the first string, and fluff to form a pom-pom  shape

Additional Ideas

Pom-poms are great, easy to grasp, fun sensory texture to use during manipulation tasks such as inserting objects into containers.  

Pushing pom-poms into a small opening provides sensory stimulation and strengthens fingers.

Making pom=poms is a great bilateral activity.  

Try holding a large pom-pom in the hand between the ring and pinky fingers while using scissors or other fine-motor activities nusing the tripod fingers

Here are some other adaptations to make grasping easier....

Push pom-poms into packing foam openings.

There are some great seasonal crafts using pom poms, like the Red Tag Art Spider...  http://www.redtedart.com/2014/09/17/spider-craft-pom-pom-spider/

or use orange yarn to make pumpkins

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