Pool Noodles: A Summer Favorite for Year-Round Fun! (Part 1)

PoolNoodlePinImageBy now you may have noticed that I like to recycle things around the house to use for fun activities with the littles – fabric, toilet paper rolls, squeeze-pouch tops… the list goes on. Today I’m back with a way to recycle a summer time favorite that doesn’t need to disappear when the warm weather does.

Pool Noodles: We often use them for water play. But what do you do with them when summer is over?  Rather than stuffing them in the back of a closet or throwing them away, you could recycle them to make fun “any season” activities.

Today, I bring you PART 1 of my Pool Noodles series.

Something special about today’s activities is that the same materials are required for both of them – that means, if you gather what you need for one, you automatically get twice the fun!



Activity #1. NOODLE BEADS


Create colorful patterns by stringing pool noodles onto rope or yarn. The littles won’t even realize that they are also practicing their hand manipulation skills while developing their hand-eye coordination and bilateral integration.

Bilateral integration is ability to use both sides of your body together in a coordinated way. Children need this in preschool to perform tasks such as stabilizing a sheet of paper while writing on it, holding a piece of paper in one hand while using scissors to cut it with the other, or anything else you can think of that requires two hands.

What you need:

  • 1 or more pool noodles – the more colors the better
  • Sharp knife and cutting board
  • Thick string, twine, ribbon, or yarn
  • Bin with lid for storage
  • Optional: 1 cork or cotton ball
  • Optional: Index cards, markers (same colors as pool noodles)


Step 1: Lay pool noodles horizontally on a cutting board or other hard surface. Slice into sections about 1 1/2 – 3″ thick. (Similar to slicing a loaf of french bread)

Step 2: Cut a few pieces of string about 3 1/2 – 4 feet long


Step 3: (Optional) On an index card, create a pattern using the same colors as the pool noodles you are using. Repeat, creating a different pattern on each card.


Step 4: Let your little one practice putting “beads” on the string. Use the index cards as a guide for creating and matching different color combinations!

Tip – To keep the noodle beads from falling off the string as your little one threads them on: First, thread the first noodle on the string. Then, use a cork or cotton ball to hold the end of the string in place. Now you can add as many beads as you’d like without them tumbling onto the floor!





Activity #2. NOODLES & CORKS

This is a surprisingly simple activity that my littles really enjoy. Let your child work on those fine motor and visual motor skills while also learning about the concepts of “too big” and “too small.” Keep those little hands busy!


What you need:

  • 1 pool noodle
  • Sharp knife or scissors
  • Corks of various sizes – (You can find packs of these in craft stores, or you can collect them the old fashioned way! Wine, anyone?)
  • Bin with lid or large Ziploc storage bag


Step 1: Lay pool noodles horizontally on a cutting board or other hard surface. Slice into sections about 1 1/2 – 3″ thick. (Similar to slicing a loaf of french bread)

Step 2: Arrange pool noodle slices vertically (hole side up) on the floor. Spread corks on the floor.


Step 3: Let your little one explore! They will enjoy pushing corks into the noodles and seeing which ones they can push all the way through. Because you have provided them with corks of various sizes, they also learn that some are too big, some fall right through (too small), and some fit just right!



Do you have any other ideas for playing with pool noodles?

I hope you enjoy these ideas as much as we do.  If you try it and love it, please come back and share your success story, comments, or questions!



6 thoughts on “Pool Noodles: A Summer Favorite for Year-Round Fun! (Part 1)

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