What Can You Do With a Pool Noodle?

written by Michelle Greenough, Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Quality Coach

Excuse me Mr. Weatherman, sir.  What’s that you say?  Winter is over?  Summer is almost here?  It isn’t going to snow again until, at least, December?  Well, in that case I am grabbing my girls and my bag of “Summer Supplies” and heading out to the backyard!  You see, at my house, all we need is a bit of creativity (and maybe a few pool noodles) to have some summer fun!

Here is your supply list (you may want to get paper and a pencil ready):

pool noodle

  • Pool Noodles (You thought I was joking?) – fat ones, skinny ones, round ones, flower-shaped ones, triangular ones (no, I have never seen one of these, but if you happen to, BUY IT!), long ones, short ones, red ones, blue ones, polka dotted ones (see triangle ones), old ones, new ones.

Shall I go on?  I think you get my point; there are 101 uses for pool noodles in your own backyard and I want to share just a few of my family’s favorites with you.

  1. Kick It Wicket – Think croquet, but with a kickball.  Create wickets around the yard by driving chopsticks or skewers into the ground in pairs about 3 feet apart.  Slip a hollow pool noodle end over each “pole” and start kicking!  To switch it up, use another noodle as a bat.  Follow this link to see an example http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/pool-noodle-backyard-games/
  2. Ring toss – Reuse those chopsticks or skewers from the wickets above and cover them with 1/3 of a pool noodle.  Take another noodle and tape it into a circle to create the world’s largest ring toss game!  You can even play a friendly game of “Lasso Your Sister”; it is much safer than lawn darts!
  3. Noodle Pit – You have heard of a ball pit…now think ball pit fun without all the germs and, ahem, smells.  Using a serrated knife, slice your noodles into 3-4 inch segments.  This will take a lot of noodles, so I would go for the thinner Dollar Store variety.  I like to make enough to fill a small baby pool and then store them in garbage bags. These are equally fun when the pool also has water!  Just be sure to let your noodles dry before you store them away because, let’s face it, no one likes a wet noodle!
  4. Noodle Beads – If those noodles you just chopped up are of the hollow variety, how about finding a jump rope and let your kiddos string them like a giant necklace.  Practice counting, patterning, or just enjoy the process.

These ideas are simply a start to the endless possibilities that a pool noodle can offer.  I challenge you to type “pool noodle activities” into your search engine and see what pops up. Who knows, you may even find some indoor activities for those days when we need the air conditioner...stair case marble racing any one?

Communication Intern

Caroline Havekost, Community Relations Intern, 1 week

comed_caroline_havekostI have the wonderful opportunity of working with the communications team at WDMCS. My role as Community Relations Intern allows me to attend several different events throughout the district to take photos and write stories about the events, and all of the great things the community has to offer. My goal this summer is to write a wide variety of stories to keep students, parents, and community members informed about what is going on while school is out of session, and to interest them in new things. I hope to make each story different and exciting, and show case the many great things our district and community have to offer. Although I have only been here a short amount of time, I have already been at work covering events and writings stories. Outside of working, I enjoy swimming, running, crafting, and spending time with my friends and family, especially on the lake boating or jet skiing.

Safety Town Press Release

IMG_1196WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Safety Town is for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2013. Safety Town (a WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning program) is a comprehensive safety education program for young children that covers safety around strangers, fire, water, traffic, buses, and poison. Children will have an opportunity to learn through experiences in the Safety Town village, a field trip to the police and fire stations, and various classroom activities. A West Des Moines police officer, certified teacher, and teacher assistant will lead the activities for the week.

Safety Town will be held at Hillside Elementary, 713 8th Street, West Des Moines. The $45 fee includes a t-shirt. For more information or to register call 633-5001 or visit www.wdmcs.org/commed/programs/youth/summer-of-learning/safety-town/


Summer…Cover Up!?

written by Gabe Carlson, Wellness Coordinator

Sun and sunscreenSummer time…bring on the fun and sun! For some people, school is out, vacations are planned, and BBQ’s are getting a workout. But your summer fun can soon take a detour without taking the time to cover up–with sun screen that is.

After a long winter, with limited amounts of sun, cold weather, and dry conditions, we are always anxious and ready to get outside and get some rays. However, it is important to remember the UV index is the strongest during the summer months and especially between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. It is important to apply sun screen every time you are planning to be outside more than 30 minutes during the day.

Having fun in the sun is a great way to spend your summer months, but spending them outside without sun screen is hazardous to your health. The sun is the leading cause of skin cancer and also contributes to premature aging, eye damage, and of course, blistered skin!

Here are some tips for using sunscreen:

  • Apply 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure
  • Apply evenly to avoid unintentional burning
  • Choose sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection
  • Reapply!  This should be done every one to two hours.

Be sure to cover up and enjoy your summer…your skin will thank you!

The Greatest Joy of My Life

written by Shahna Janssen, Director of Community Education

Kid's mothers day drawingMother’s Day is right around the corner and I can only feel grateful for the wonderful mother that I was blessed with, and for the opportunity to be a mother myself.  I have found motherhood to be incredibly rewarding and equally challenging. My experiences as a mom have been both fulfilling and humbling.

I remember the day I came home from the hospital with my first child. I was awestruck by this new little person and an overwhelming sense of responsibility that came with him. I really didn’t know what to do or where to begin. He began to cry and I began to panic. I’d done everything that I could think of, but nothing was working….so I just started to cry too, and my husband was struck with fear.  In a moment of clarity, I called my mom, because she would know just what to do. And she did! The answer to all my prayers (at that moment) was a miraculous little invention called a pacifier. J

And so it goes. I didn’t realize it then, but that would be the first of many moments when I would question myself and my abilities as a mom. As my kids continue to grow, they continue to encounter circumstances that I’m not sure how to deal with (and we haven’t even approached the teen years yet).  I quickly figured out that “parenting” was so much easier before I’d actually had kids! That was when I could observe other people’s missteps and vow that that I would do things differently and that naturally, my kids would never misbehave in public. Yes, that was a lovely and short-lived fairy tale.

But, I’ve actually found the reality of motherhood to be even better. It is perfectly imperfect.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I’ll make many more. I’ve even done and said some of the things I vowed I never would. However, the things I’m learning from my kids through this journey are pretty incredible. Being their mom is molding me into a better human being. Motherhood is, without question, the greatest joy of my life.

Wishing you great joy, along with a little peace and relaxation, this Mother’s Day!