Using Fun and Novel Pointers with Your Flip Charts

Using Fun and Novel Pointers with Your Flip Charts

If you like to use pointers to help focus attention on keywords or concepts that you have put on your flip chart pages, you have a variety of options. They run from the mundane to the creative. Here are some of the types that are common and some that are not so common:

Wooden dowel pointers. Most audio-visual and art supply stores carry the wooden pointers. They are typically three feet long and often have a black rubber or painted tip. If you cannot find them at either of these stores, go to a craft, home supply or hardware store and ask for a wooden dowel rod. They are typically used to support thin curtains. The only difference in the two types is that the latter options will not have the black tip. If you want that feature, you can simply buy some flat black paint and touch it up.

 flip charts, flip chart pointers, flipcharts

Collapsible metal pointers. Similar to an antenna on some cars are another common type used by presenters.  Many even have a clip, similar to an ink pen, that allows carrying in the pocket.


Lighted infrared pointers. These are a newer “fad.” These are battery operated and project a small red beam of light, thereby allowing you to stand across the room and “point” by projecting the red dot on your flip chart page.

laser pointer 2

There are several negative aspects of this type of pointer:

  • One is that even experienced presenters have difficulty holding the light steady. This gives the non-verbal appearance of nervousness and can be distracting as the dot dances around the page.
  • A second downside is that the dots are so small and many people (especially men) have red color blindness and have trouble seeing the dot at all.
  • Finally, a more serious concern is that the laser light can cause eye damage if you accidentally look into it or project into the eyes of an attendee.

Using Fun and Novel Pointers with Your Flip Charts by The Creative Trainer 

If you really want to add some pizzazz and break the monotony of a learning environment, here are several options:

Long pencil. Purchase and use one of these for use as a pointer. These are over five feet long and can be obtained from Great Big Stuff!

Long pencil

Squawkin’ chicken. These loud and hilarious rubber screaming chickens are great as pointers to attract attention and add a bit of humor to your sessions. They are also perfect for regaining attention following small group activities. Simply squeeze them to hear a loud scream that attracts participant attention.

Sqwakin Chicken

Plastic Finger Pointers. These novel 24-inch rubber fingers mounted on colored plastic handles are perfect for pointing at ideas on flip charts and projection screens.

Novelty finger pointers

For additional creative ideas on how to make, use, transport and store flip charts and how to add fun and creativity to your learning events, get copies of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators and The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

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