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?