14 Educational Ways to Use Pop Its in the Classroom

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Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Nope teachers, it’s not your champagne popping on Friday night! This new craze sweeping across primary school classrooms has been dubbed the next fidget spinner. The Pop It, or fidget popper, is a sensory toy that has little ‘bubbles’ that you can push through and ‘pop’, kind of like bubble wrap! They were initially designed to provide a sensory and tactile experience to help children who may benefit from extra assistance to focus. But, like the fidget spinner, these Pop Its are quickly becoming popular among all children. Now, most households across the country are home to a variety of coloured, different shaped Pop its!

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Do you give Pop Its the thumbs up or thumbs down?

Teacher giving thumbs up and thumbs down

Shutterstock.com / Asier Romero

Learning Opportunites Using Pop Its

Okay, you may have thought of banning these new fidget toys in your classroom… sick of seeing them, sick of hearing them, or just sick of them in general?

But, why not use this student obsession to your advantage in the classroom? We have brainstormed a number of fantastic activities that you could incorporate into your maths groupsEnglish groups or classroom brain breaks for a little bit of fun.

Of course, they can still be used in the classroom as a fidget toy for those that really need it.

Using pop its for phonics activities

(1) Segmenting Phonemes

Use our Decodable Sound Button Flashcards and have students push down on a ‘bubble’ for each sound.

(2) Explore Syllables in Words

Use our Syllable Peg Cards for a fantastic hands-on activity.

Students pick a card and clap out the syllables, next they push on a ‘bubble’ for each syllable. Finally, they can put a peg on the correct number of syllables on the peg cards. Fine motor, repetition and syllables all in one – genius!

(3) CVC Activity

Use our CVC Word Building activity for some fantastic CVC image cards and matching letters. Students can pick an image, find the matching letters to create the matching CVC words and then use the ‘buttons’ on the Pop It to sound out that word.

Some teachers are experimenting with using a Sharpie to write letters on each of the bubbles on the Pop Its, too!

(4) PomPom Match

Okay, we got a little excited when we worked out that the little pompoms you can buy fit perfectly in the ‘bubble’ when flipped upside down.

Using tongs or wooden pegs, students need to pick up pompoms and fill up every bubble of the Pop It. Think about what muscles your students need development in; the opening and closing of tongs and wooden pegs use different muscles.

Even the general ‘popping’ of this fidget toy is good for general fine motor too…

Using pop its for fine motor development.

(5) Skip counting

Consolidate your students’ knowledge of skip counting by using a Pop It. Students can push down on a bubble as they count in 2s, 5s, 10s etc.

(6) Simple Addition

All you need is a Pop It and two dice for a simple addition activity. Students can roll the dice and then push down the number of bubbles on the Pop It to show the total.

(7) Simple Number Recognition

Students roll a dice and then push that many bubbles on the Pop It. A great number recognition activity for early learning.

For larger numbers, you could use some Number Flashcards in a similar way.

Using pop its for maths activities

(8) Simple Coding

Use our coding direction cards for a fun activity for your little coders. Place two little mini objects in a Pop It (upside down). In pairs, one student needs to use the direction cards to explain to the other student how to get from one object to the other.

(9) Coordinates

On a piece of paper write down coordinates to add to the outside of a Pop It. In pairs, one student can add a pompom to one bubble and the other student needs to provide the coordinate for that pompom. You could even give them a coordinate and they have to find that bubble and put a pompom on that coordinate.

Why not replicate the game of battleships for your older students.

(10) Arrays

Using simple multiplication sums, students need to show the multiplication using arrays by pushing down the correct number of bubbles for a provided sum.

You may like to use our collection of Hooray Arrays worksheets in conjunction with this activity:

(11) Memory

In pairs, students use one Pop It and a couple of small items that will fit nicely under the ‘bubbles’, things like pompoms, rocks, buttons or beads. One student needs to look at what is under the Pop It and then place it back down and close their eyes. The other partner removes one item and then places the Pop It back down.

The first student needs to work out what item has been removed.

(12) Follow a Pattern

In pairs, one student creates a pattern with the Pop It – it may be pushing down one bubble, then two bubbles, then one… etc. The other student then needs to try and work out the ‘rule’ for the pattern and repeat it.

(13) Persuasive Writing

Have your students write a persuasive letter convincing you or the principal that students should or should not be allowed to bring Pop Its to school.

Write a persuasive letter about pop its.

You may like to use our persuasive planning templates to help your students plan out their arguments.

(14) Pop It Game

This is a great game for the students to play during a brain break or even for a warm-up.

You play this game in pairs. Each pair will have a fidget Pop It. The first player pops down as many ‘bubbles’ as they want, though it must be in the same line. The next player goes and does the same thing, they can pop as many or as little as they like, but it must be within a line. The aim of the game is to NOT be the last player popping a bubble. For those on TikTok – check out this video from @tipsfromatypicalmom.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you banned Pop Its in your classroom?

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Comments & feedback

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Emma

Thanks for these suggestions! I love the idea of using them for multiplication & really cementing the idea of arrays

Emma · Apr 12th, 2021

Heath Teach Starter

Hi Emma. I’m so happy to hear these have been working for you in the classroom. Thanks for letting us know.

Heath Teach Starter · Apr 13th, 2021

Sophie

Hey, Right now I am making a powerpoint for writing prompts and put the persuasive idea in!

Sophie · Apr 11th, 2021

Bronwyn

Hi Sophie! I’m glad to hear you love this idea. Let us know how it goes with your students!

Bronwyn · Apr 12th, 2021

Sarah Cook

This is fabulous!

Sarah Cook · Mar 23rd, 2021

Heath Teach Starter

Hi Sarah and thanks for your comment. Are you planning on using any of Holly’s suggestions with your students?

Heath Teach Starter · Mar 24th, 2021

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