Oodles of Fun with Pool Noodles!

BLEND hosted the Kids Health and Fitness Expo on Friday, April 18, 2014 as part of Earth Day Run festivities in St. Cloud, MN.  It promised to be a fun day for kids and families.  And, boy did we deliver!  Kids had a blast singing and dancing, taking lessons in tennis and soccer, and jumping on the trampoline launch pad and in the bouncy houses.  They also had oodles of fun playing in the pool noodle activity zone.

Oodles of Noodles

Several months ago our friend, Deb Johansen (St. Cloud School District #742 PE Teacher), sparked the idea of using pool noodles to create a fun activity to get kids active during the event.  Remember her?  Deb is our BLEND resource for all-things-crafty.  In past years, she is the gal who gave us the idea to make HULA HOOPS out of irrigation tubing and RIBBON BALLS out of gently used tennis balls.  Deb says she uses pool noodles all the time in class for games and instruction – “kids love them…they’re fun, something different, and really affordable!”   She wasn’t kidding.  Dollar Tree sells pool noodles for only $1.00 each!   So, BLEND bought 1,100 of them!  100 to make the games and 1,000 were given away to kids who attended the event.

Deb says pool noodles can make some pretty cool games to help kids work on their fundamental movement skills and motor skills, like hopping, jumping and throwing.  These are critical to establishing the foundation for kids to participate in sports and partake in physical activities. This is definitely the PE teacher side of Deb.  The mom (and proud grandmother) in her suggests creating activities to show parents how they can easily replicate these activities at home.  Keep it simple and practical.  We did just that.  What kid wouldn’t like to see these games at a birthday party, a family get-together, or just to have around the house?

Oodles of Creativity – Pool Noodle DIY!

With some imagination and a little doodling…okay, and a lot of inspiration from Pinterest…the following games were designed and crafted: hopscotch, ring toss, bean bag toss, a waterfall curtain, and several javelin throw games.

To make the games you will need these supplies:

  • Pool noodles
  • Duct tape (plain or colorful)
  • ½ inch PVC pipe and fittings – tee, 90 degree or elbow, cross tee (4-way tee or 5-way even better)
  • Basic construction tools** – hand saw (cut PVC), utility knife and serrated knife (cut pool noodles), scissors, tape measure, doll-making needle and upholstery thread (waterfall curtain)

**Please note this is an adult led activity!!  It is not advised to let kids use the knives and saw unsupervised!

To cut a seam down the length of the pool noodle – use a utility knife.  The first cut is to score the line – the second cut is needed to cut through the entire layer. Use these pool noodles to wrap around the PVC pipe.

To cut pool noodles to desired length – use a serrated knife.

Ring toss game! Cut 3 – 12″ PVC pipes for the base. Insert in the 4-way fitting. To connect the 4-way and elbow fittings – cut a small piece of PVC pipe (2″-3″). Now, determine the height of the vertical piece and cut to length. Then wrap with pool noodle. Tape may be needed to keep the game in place when on a solid surface. Use a landscaping pin to secure when outdoors.

Ring toss game!  Create rings.  Choose different heights to make the ring toss game more fun and challenging.  Cut the PVC pipe and pool noodle accordingly.

Basic frame for javelin games. Important tip: create the pool noodle rings first – see images below.  Once the rings are made – determine the height, measure and cut 2 PVC pipes. Cut 4 – 24″ PVC pipe for the base (2 on each side). Connect base by using the tee fittings. Determine width, measure and cut PVC pipe. Connect using the elbow fittings. Wrap with pool noodles.

Tape pool noodles rings together for the javelin throw games, the ring toss game, and hopscotch. For this project – 9 pool noodle rings were used. Tip: make the individual rings first. To make the individual rings – one person should hold the ends together while the other person tapes together.

Pool noodles taped together and ready to go! Attach to the frame of the javelin throw game or the hopscotch game

Waterfall curtain. Create the basic frame. The height of this game is based on the height of the pool noodles used. Once the frame is constructed, use a doll making needle to thread the upholstery thread through each pool noodle. Tie to the frame. To make the flower shaped strand – simply cut 1″ sections of pool noodles. Thread throw each flower to reach the same length as a whole pool noodle. Tie a knot to finish the end – use a piece of tape at the bottom to secure. Tie to frame. Tape to secure the thread. Tip: When tying the thread to the top pipe allow enough room at the top so the pool noodle can cover the pipe without interfering with the hanging pool noodles.

Hopscotch game. Create the rings and determine the desired length. 12 rings were used in this activity and taped together. Measure and cut the PVC pipe to length. Cover pipe with pool noodles and tape to rings.

Bean bag toss game.  Simply tape 2 pool noodles together to create a large ring. Stack the large rings on top of each other to create the desired height.  Tape together.  Encourage kids to toss bean bags under-hand or over-hand…and from different distances.

Of course we had to announce this activity in a crafty way, too!   So, we created a sign on a chalkboard! Pretty cool, huh?

Do YOU Pool Noodle?

Have you crafted any pool noodle games?  Do you have a Pinterest Board filled with crafty ideas to have fun and encourage fitness?  Do you have an idea for BLEND to explore for the next Earth Day Run event?  We’d love to hear from you – please comment and share.

Oh, and if you’d like to see more photo’s from the 2014 Earth Day Run event, visit the BLEND Earth Day Run page!

Health & happiness!
Kathy Geislinger
BLEND Program Specialist