Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello Pool Noodle!

It all started with a birthday idea for my son's Spartan Race themed obstacle party and a FamilyFun magazine idea....the pool noodle: not just for the pool!! We made an obstacle course for his party based on this idea from FamilyFun:

Pretty ingenious, right? We had a great obstacle course birthday party. After the party, we were taking down all the obstacles and I was left with a bunch of hoops and dowels when a light bulb went on in my head: these are great for my students!!! Once the light bulb went on, my mind lit up with ideas on how to use these pool noodles: perfect for defined work spaces on the go (put the work items inside the circle or do activities that require you to put inside the circle), small enough to teach concept development for early childhood (on/off, in/out, up/down), plus they are a fun vision modification for outdoor games like hopscotch or any other throw into a hoop game and of course a giant "horse shoe type" game (I'll post that picture). I've even seen some clever moms cut noodles and slide them on to PVC pipe and construct a bath seat for an older child (man do I wish I would have taken a picture of that cool idea---if you have seen one and can snap it, please do and send it to me!!). These noodle beauties can get wet, stepped on and a kid can tightly grip it and they take the hit! Plus if you get quality ones, when a little one pulls hard on it or even tries to mouth it, little pieces won't break off. 

All you need is duct tape and dowels from Lowe's/Home Depot and viola! You are in business!! A word on pool noodle selection: I advise buying from Walmart or Target and getting quality ones. They are more pliable and bigger when they are made into rings. I bought a few from Dollar Tree and they were just okay. We also found them at CVS that were good but I am sure they are everywhere and since summer is just around the corner I thought now would be the perfect time to blog about it. 

Now I am not a handy person. Crafty, yes but assembling things, no. So I tell you that these pool noodle rings (or Fruit Loops as I like to call them) are super easy and even I can do it (which means you can do it too). I love the richness of the colors and how well they stand out. The yellow one was purchased at Dollar Tree and you can see that it is smaller than the other ones purchased at CVS. 

Notice the candy cane striped pool noodle? I did that because I was worried that the kids couldn't see it standing up in the sunlight. We stuck this one standing up with a dowel at the bottom into the ground. The kids tossed rings and tried to get them on the noodle. Fun game for everyone but secretly a vision modification for our kids.  I haven't even scratched the surface of how many cool things you can do for our kids (preschool through school age including kids who are MIVI/DB and ASD/VI) so I decided to Google some images for other ideas of pool noodle fun:

This is also from that FF article. These are called wickets (all you need are dowels!).

Then I found a great link on Pinterest with a ton of ideas (almost all are doable activities for our kids too!): And of course I blogged about this idea when I showed off my colleague Yvonne's fabulous preschool toy modifications (but here's another pic from Google images):
Thank you pool noodle. You are just not for the pool or cool summer fun, you are a secret vision modification that allows our kids to have some super summer fun without needing the extra large modifications!!


  1. I really like the idea for using foam cylinders as wickets. You could have a larger-than-life, soft, and safe game of "kickball croquet" with those!

  2. I love the pool noodle opportunities here!

    I mentioned your blog in my recent blog post.
    I've been checking to pick up some fabulous ideas for my son and family. Thank you so much for sharing ideas and your experiences online.

    All the best, Hex/Heather

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