Meet the pompom sparrow family

As today is World Sparrow Day, how better to engage a child’s interest in this little brown bird than by making a pompom sparrow chick out of wool and pipe cleaners.

You will need:

  • Wool – brown or beige
  • Pipe cleaners – orange, black, and white
  • Scissors
  • Glue

How to make:

Step one

Make four pompoms.

The first, for the sparrow’s body, should be larger than the second, which is for the sparrow’s head. The final two, for the wings, should be very small

There are several different ways you could make your pompoms. The quickest method is to wrap the wool around your fingers. For the body pompom, wrap around four fingers, and for the head pompom, wrap around just two. For these first two pompoms, use plenty of wool, that way you have a good sized, dense pompom once you’re done. For the wing pompoms, again wrap around two fingers, but his time use only half the amount of wool, so the pompoms are smaller.

Once you’ve wound the wool, you’ll then need to bind it around the middle. It’s easiest to do this while the wool is still on your fingers.

Cut your wool off the original ball, leaving a length for tying around your pompom. Take the end of the wool and thread it between the two fingers at the centre of the wool bundle. Loop it around the wool and pull it as tight as possible. Repeat several times before tying a knot and removing the wool bundle from your fingers. You should still have some wool remaining. Do not trim this off as it will be used later.

Next, use your scissors to cut through all the strands at both ends of the wool bundle. Once you’ve done this you will have a pompom. It may be a little uneven in places but you can trim it a little if you wish to tidy it up.

Step two

Tie your pompoms together.

Use the lengths of wool still attached to your pompoms to tie the head and body together. Next, tie a wing to either side of the body. Don’t pull these too tight, otherwise they don’t stand out from the body.

Trim off any excess wool.

Step three

Add some eyes.

To make each of these, cut a piece of black and a piece of white pipe cleaner, each one approximately 4cm long. Fold the black pipe cleaner in half and place the white between the fold. Twist the black ends together to hold the white piece in place. Next, wrap the white pipe cleaner around the outside of the black, creating a black pupil surrounded by white. Repeat to make the second eye.

To attach the eyes to the sparrow’s head, coat the twisted ends of black pipe cleaner in glue and push them into the pompom, pressing the wool strands to the pipe cleaner twists to make sure they stay in place.

Step four

Add a beak.

To make this, cut a piece of orange pipe cleaner, approximately 10cm long. Fold it 2cm from the end, followed by another three folds at 1.5cm intervals, leaving a final 2cm segment to the end. Create a diamond shape by twisting the pipe cleaner together at the first and last folds. This should leave the two 2cm lengths sticking out from the side of the diamond. Fold these lengths across the middle of the diamond (this should be a space of approximately 1cm) and twist them both to the opposite side. Trim off any excess pipe cleaner. You should now have two triangles divided by a double thickness of pipe cleaner. These triangles are the top and bottom of the beak, so push them together.

To attach the beak to the sparrow’s head, coat the double thickness of pipe cleaner with glue and press it into position against the wool.

Step five

Add some feet.

To make each of these, cut two pieces of orange pipe cleaner. The first should be approximately 6cm long, the second, 3cm. Fold the first piece 1.5 cm from the end and fold the 2nd piece in half. Twist the two pieces together at their folds. Arrange them so the three 1.5 cm lengths form a bird’s foot, sitting at 90 degrees to the longer length of its leg.

Repeat to make the second foot.

To attach the feet to the body of the sparrow, coat the legs with glue and push them into the bottom of the body pompom, pressing the wool against them to make sure they stay in place.


If you want to try making a pompom using a different method, check out this instructional video that shows four different ways of making them.

If you wanted to add a little more interest to your sparrow, you could try using a mix of light and dark brown wool when making your pompoms. When you’re choosing your colours is a perfect time for discussing the colour of sparrows with the little ones.

Happy World Sparrow Day!