Easy DIY Photo Prop to Keep Your Toddler Entertained For Pictures

Ever since the Dumpling became mobile, she doesn’t stay still in one position for more than a few seconds. This makes taking photos tricky because she’s constantly trying to break free, and I end up with pictures that look like I’m torturing my own kid.

These days I often look to distract her with things that she can hold, but the challenge is to find something that doesn’t look like an out-of-place prop in pictures. The answer came to me during the Dumpling’s birthday weekend when I gave her a pom pom wand from her decoration display, and she waved it around like a happy cheerleader for a good five minutes! That’s almost like forever in hyperactive toddler time.

The wands make pretty party decorations.
They also double as fun, colorful photo props!

I subsequently used the wands again at her daycare birthday party and ended up with a squad of little cheerleaders!

Pom Pom and Tassel Wand Instructions 


  • Tissue paper
  • Decorative straw (Mine came as part of a decoration kit I bought for the Dumpling’s party, but regular straws would work too )
  • Scissors

Assembling the wands are easy and mirror the construction of a regular tissue paper garland (there are tons of tutorial online.) The only difference is that instead of stringing them together, I tuck each tassel into the straw.

  1. Cut a piece of tissue paper to approximately 5″ by 12+”. Exact dimensions are not that important since I made the pom poms in varying sizes. I had fun experimenting with different lengths and found that shorter fringes make fluffier pom poms while longer fringes make flowier, streamer-like ones.
  2. Fold the paper in half.
  3. Cut strips about 1/2 inch wide towards the fold to form the fringe, but don’t cut all the way! Leave about 1 inch uncut before reaching the fold.
  4. Open up the tissue paper and roll.
  5. Fold in half and insert (more like forcefully shove) the folded end into the straw.


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