Ages: 3-year-olds and older. Not only can younger children not do this activity, but the small objects can be a choking hazard. Keep this away from younger siblings if you are playing this with a preschooler!


  • Tweezers
  • 2 Unbreakable Jars (one wide mouth and one smaller mouth) or two flat-bottomed cups or bowls.
  • Unpopped popcorn, small M&M's, or dried navy beans in a dish
  • A shower suction holder for soap (usually round with many little suction cups to keep it up on shower wall) (optional).


  1. Show the child how to pick up one kernel of popcorn with the tweezers.
  2. Demonstrate how to place the popcorn into one of the jars. (Begin with the wide mouthed jar until the child gains control, has success, and feels confident enough for a greater challenge.) Count together as they put each kernel in the jar.
  3. Children continue until they have done all they wish to do, or until all of the corn is in the jar. Remember some children have shorter attention spans than others. Try to stretch them by saying, “Can you do just 1 more? Great!”
  4. Children can try to pick up popcorn with the tweezers and put one kernel on each little suction cup of the shower soap holder, or as many as they desire to try. This is supposed to be fun, not a chore.

Variation for children who can count but need reinforcement:

  1. Mark each section of an egg carton with a different number. Write the numbers in order from one to twelve (for young counters, do only one through five to begin with.)
  2. Show the child how to put one kernel in the section marked “1″, two kernels in the section marked “2″, and so on.

What is developed?

  1. Builds counting skills.
  2. Helps children learn one-to-one correspondence, an important pre-math skill.
  3. Encourages patience and lengthens attention span
  4. Develops concentration
  5. Builds eye-hand coordination.
  6. Develops fine motor control.


Related blog posts:

Parents' Emergency Box

Matching Games Galore