Gum Ball Machine

I need help!  Mostly because my brain is mush this week.  My four year old sugarbug has been out with the flu all week this week.  Yes, the real flu – influenza! On Thursday, she was feeling better – her fever was finally down, and she was starting to get her spunk back.  I had my first full day back at school on Thursday when we had Kindergarten Round-Up (SO FUN meeting all the little babies coming next year!), she stayed home with hubby.  By that evening, she was crying in pain (up all night) with ear aches.  We brought her back in (took her on Wednesday) to the doctor, and she has double ear infections! Thank goodness those meds work quick, and she was feeling good enough to go back to daycare.

So this weekend is a busy one for me – I still have to finish my thesis paper, and I have another paper for another class…hope my brain becomes less mushy!

So, on to my question…I bought an adorable little gumball machine at JoAnn’s over Christmas break.  It has “smarties” gumballs in it.  I snatched it up! But now, I don’t know what to do with it! The kiddos are eyeing it constantly, but not sure how to use it as a motivator!  Any creative ideas out there?

PS – I’ll be back this weekend with some new blog posts and some downloads too!!



  1. We use ours if no one goes on blue (think about it) on our behavior chart. If no one is, everyone gets a gumball.


  2. I knew a teacher who used to give students that had some thing positive a nickle to get a gumball at the end of the week. Then she would take the nickles out for next week.

    You could have students put their name in a basket every time you catch them doing something right, could be academic or behavior, & at the end of the week pull out 5 names. Those 5 get a coin, whatever coin your machine takes, & they get a gumball. then you take out the coins for the next week.

    You could say that "Good work or behavior sticks!" Cheesy, I know but I am too tired to think of something cuter.

    Ms. M

  3. Depending on the skill level of your students...the gum balls can be rewarded for mastering different skills. For example, reading x# of sight words or reading at x Level. You can also use these as a reward for good behavior at the end of the week.

    Hope your little one is on the mend.

  4. Our friend gives children a penny for the gumball machine when they fill up a reading sheet. The children love getting their gumball for that.

  5. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing the great ideas! I am awarding you the Stylish Blogger Award! Please link back to my blog for the rules and the blog award image!

  6. Use it to distribute sight words. Put sticker labels on "glass globs" (those neat, polished glass pieces you put in vases). Write the sight words on the labels and then put Modge Podge over the labels. The kids can take turns reading the sight words and recording them at a center.

  7. I have a real vintage gumball machine on a stand in my room. My kids have mini incentive sheets with 20 spaces for the mini chart stickers. My school collects Box Tops and Campbell Soup labels so they get a point for each lablel they bring in. My class wins the contests almost every time. At 10 points earned, they get a penny to put in the gumball machine. At a full sheet (20) they get a prize out of the prize box.

  8. I use mine for a lot of things. First of all M&M's along with Skittles can go in there, too when you empty it out. This year I have a peanut allergy, so I can't use M&M's. I do use it like the above comments say, but I also use mine for several additional things...neat names on papers, quietest person I see lining up, no talking in the hall all the way down/back to library,etc. Someone also told me that you can use dimes, too instead of just pennies!! I usually never have that many dimes laying around.

  9. Sounds like you have enough suggestions about the gumball machine...SOOOOO...I just wanted to leave you a note about your blog makeover. I just love the new (I know you have had the look for a little while now) whimsical look. I am captivated each time I look at your page!!

    Primary Graffiti

  10. This is what I do...

  11. For the sight word gumball game, check out Shari Sloane's instructions and pics. (, click on literacy centers, scroll down to the gumball machine)
    LOVE it!

  12. Love the blog! Thanks for sharing your ideas. I have a compliment cookie... when the whole class gets a compliment from another teacher, we add a chocolate chip to the cookie, you could pass out a gum ball/skittle, what every is in it as a reward for getting a compliment from a other teacher around the school. When we fill up the cookie, we have a cookie party, I bring some cookies in to celebrate. I'm just getting started on my teacher blog.

  13. I really enjoy your blog and so...
    I'm awarding you the Stylish Blogger Award!
    Just link back to my blog from yours and follow the directions posted there!

    K is for kindergarten

  14. I use the Power Pellets idea from What the Teacher Wants Blog
    Not my blog, but LOVE the idea and they WORK!!!!
    I use the Skittles but I am looking to get a dispenser for them so "hands" aren't reaching inside the bowl.

  15. Every year during the 3rd quarter I print out individual gumball machines {coloring pages} and hang them on the kids' cubbies. If they're listening in class, walking right in the hallway, etc I tell them to go color in a gumball. When they get 5 colored in, they earn a real gumball to chew in class! It's become a great motivator because anytime I need the kids to focus or get back to work, I just have to tell ONE kid to color in a gumball...BAM! They're all back on track. I hope it works for you!

  16. I create individual gumball machines out of construction paper and creat a bulletin board titled "The Great Gumball Gallery". The students earn paper gumball for every skill that they master: counting to 100, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, letter sounds,etc... you get the idea I also give them a coin to use on the real gumball machine!!! When students fill their gumball machines, they also earn a special prize (this year it is a water yo-yo.) It is a great motivator for the kids and a great way for parents to see at a glance what skills need more practice at home. I will be happy to send you a photo of my bulletin board if you'd like :)

    1. Oh yes! I would love to see a picture of it! I was thinking of doing something like this next year -- what is a water yo-yo? You can e-mail me at with the photo! Thanks!!