Gum Ball Machine Craft for Tots

It’s no secret that we love to create projects that bring lots of COLOR into our household — they are so bright, cheerful, and they always make me smile! This particular project kept Clara happily occupied for a long time, and doubles as a prop for pretend play.

I traced a large serving bowl onto a recycled brown paper bag that was cut open to lay flat, and invited Clara over to add lots of “gum balls” (color coding labels) to her new gum ball machine. She loves playing with stickers, and I love that they are mess-free! A win-win!! This is also a fun way to sneak in a little practice with color identification.

Later, I cut it out and added a stand (also cut from recycled brown grocery bags) — I did the stand in separate sections. We attached it to the wall in our foyer with a little masking tape — very easy! There’s nothing quite like a colorful gum ball machine to greet our guests at the door!

I think it would be a neat back-drop for our pretend store, don’t you?

Have fun!!


  1. Dear Valerie,

    Can you check the expiration date on these gum balls? They taste like paper!


  2. Steven (hubby) was saying that this would make a great reward chart, too, adding the gumballs one at a time over time.

  3. So cute! Love your ideas!

  4. yet another great idea. love your ideas!!!

  5. Congrats!!!

    Hey I was chosen to receive the Stylish blogger award and I got to pick bloggers I thought deserved the award as well and you were one of my choices πŸ™‚

    Check it out here

  6. It’s the perfect store backdrop!

  7. Very cute, those little round stickers have so many uses! Our current package has prices on them, as they are intended for garage sales but ER loves using them nonetheless.

  8. There are so many gumballs in this machine. I like Phyllis idea of using it as a reward counter.

  9. So cute! That will make for lots of fun play! I like Phyllis’ idea too!

  10. How cool is this?!!

  11. So colorful. So easy. So fun. Definitely win-win.

  12. It would be perfect beside a store front.

  13. Oh, that is a great idea that Phyllis has……

    I’m really beginning to regret my investment in foam stickers as the backing ends up all over, maybe we need to get some good old fashioned dot stickers……

    • Agreed — I love her idea!

      I always forget about those annoying sticker backs. The dots work really well, and we love coming up with new projects for them!

  14. I LOVE this! Definitely on our to-make list! (and when did Clara get so big!?! I totally saw Emily at a quick first glance!) πŸ™‚

  15. LOVE IT!!!! I am going to use the cardboard from frozen pizza, though…and have them dip their fingers into paint to make gumdrops. Great idea!!!

  16. So, I have a Quarter- can I please buy a gumball?

  17. Now isn’t that cute – I love that you made it so tall!

  18. Perfect! What a great double activity.

  19. Perfect.Where do you find such a beautiful children’s activities? This is a great example of spending time.Thank’s…

  20. Don’t you just love gumball machines? That is really a cute one.

  21. I was thinking the same thing as reward stickers (like Phyllis commented). How fun!

  22. How on earth do you come UP with these ideas???

  23. oo this turned out adorable!! I love how bright it is!

  24. Great idea for classrooms as well!

    • Another thought occurred…If you used it in classroom, each color could be a table group or team. If you used it at home, different gumballs could represent different chores completed. Or each color could be worth a different amount of points. The options are endless!

      • Ooo… such great ideas, Amanda! I love the chore chart — that’s awesome! Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  25. I just discovered your blog and am addicted. You are so creative and I can’t wait to start incorporating some of your ideas into my family fun time! One question–where do you get these color coding labels inexpensively?

    • Hi Gaby! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying FFFB — welcome! I get color coding labels at Target or the dollar store. $1 or $2 for a pack of 225 of them. πŸ™‚

  26. We used this idea today for a playdate art project when they got a little “bored”. The little girls loved it. Thank you!

  27. Yay we have just finished this craft today. My 8 year old loved doing the decorating. See for yourself ..:)

  28. Oh my gosh!! Just seeing this now!! What an amazingly fun activity! My daughter loves stickers! Can’t wait to do this one!! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas!!

  29. What a clever idea! I have a big stack of left over circle shape stickers from a previous craft project so this would be perfect.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Early Childhood, Sandy Basker. Sandy Basker said: via @famfunblog Gum Ball Machine Craft for Tots – It's no secret that we love to create projects that bring lots of … […]

  2. […] thanks to Phyllis for the idea of using this gum ball machine as an effective classroom reward chart! Colorful and […]