May 15, 2023
35 Ways To Transform Pool Noodles Into Fun Summer Staycation Activities For Kids
Besides summer camps and visiting family members, most kids spend their whole
Besides summer camps and visiting family members, most kids spend their whole summer break at home, which could lead them to get bored, fast. Maybe your kids are sick of the games they've played every day and are looking for some new activities. If so, there are plenty of things you could do with a cheap item that can be found at most dollar stores: a pool noodle. This toy is perfect for games and crafts because it's lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to cut.
Below, you'll find 35 ways to transform regular pool noodles into summer fun that will last for the whole season. Even if you don't have a pool at your house, most of these activities can still be completed and could lead to hours of entertainment for your kids, whether they're toddlers or middle school students. Further, while some require extra items like foam, glue, tape, and googly eyes, others are extremely simple. Also keep in mind that, depending on the age of your children, some of these projects may require adult assistance or supervision.
To keep your children busy for hours, make them rackets out of pool noodles. Start by cutting a small notch out of both sides of the pool noodle, then bend it and tape the notches together. For the netting, take a pair of pantyhose and cut off one of the legs, then stretch it over the racket, tie it, and tape it down. These can be used with a small, light ball either inside or outside the pool.
You can also create target practice for your kids to play with, which will require you to have four pool noodles. Three of them can be taped into circles and then taped together into a triangle formation. Then, your kids can use the final pool noodle as a javelin, to throw into the different circles. If you want the targets to stand on their own, you could attach them to poles and stake them into your yard.
When relaxing or playing in the pool, your kids may want to enjoy some snacks or drinks. If so, they could DIY a floating table by fitting pieces of a pool noodle over the edges of a plastic cutting board or tray. They'll need to cut four pieces of pool noodle to the size of each of the sides, then slice a cut down the length of the noodle, and finally fit each piece over the edges.
To create these toy sharks, begin by cutting a pool noodle into small pieces, then slicing off the top of each piece at an angle, for the top of the head. You'll also need to cut out a triangular mouth in the center of each piece and save the mouth cutouts. Use scissors to cut slits into the inside of the top and bottom of the mouth, which will hold the teeth; these small triangles can be made out of white construction paper. Finally, add googly eyes and the fin, which is made out of the mouth cutout.
Another craft you could fashion out of a pool noodle is a dinosaur. Begin by forming the two eyes, which are made out of different-colored foam. Then, draw a line about a foot down the pool noodle and cut it longwise on both sides until you reach the mark. The teeth can be created out of zigzag cuts in foam, which can be placed in slits on the inside of the mouth and attached with glue. Then, add the eyes a few centimeters back from where the mouth begins by cutting a slit and gluing them in place.
These small toy boats could either be used in the pool or the bath. To make them, begin by cutting round, 1-inch pieces of the pool noodle. Then, add a foam triangle flag to a plastic straw by cutting two slits in the flag and sliding the straw inside. After pushing the flag pole into the boat, place a glow stick bracelet around the circumference to make it more fun.
To give your kids something fun to do on hot days, create a sprinkler out of a pool noodle and your garden hose. Begin by blocking off one side of the pool noodle with small pieces of foam and then taping it shut. Then, on the other side, add the hose and tape it in place. Poke holes in the top of the pool noodle and you've got a DIY sprinkler.
Many kids love to play with toy ponies, which they can pretend to ride around for hours. For the head, bend the end of the pool noodle and keep it in place with a rubber band. Then, cut a long piece of ribbon and place it over the rubber band, securing it with a large bead. Glue both ends of the ribbon together to create the reins. Finally, to really make the pony come alive, add felt ears, googly eyes, stickers for nostrils, and a yarn mane.
This race game can either be used with marbles or with toy cars. To DIY the race track, take a pool noodle and cut it in half lengthwise. Then, you can make the finish line by cutting out a small section of a shoebox, where the end of the race track can rest. Prop the tracks against a step ladder and a table, and your kids will have fun racing each other for hours.
For this DIY, you'll need something to act as the bowling pins; this could be water bottles, soda cans, or empty food cans. Place these in a triangle formation and then design the barrier by gluing together two regular-sized pool noodles and one that's been cut in half. The pins can then be knocked down with any ball you have on hand, like a kickball.
Similar to the floating table, this cooler is great for kids who want to enjoy ice-cold drinks while swimming all day. To create it, cut pieces of pool noodles to the length and width of a plastic bin, then thread a rope through them and tie it underneath the lip of the bin. To finish off the project, simply add bags of ice and refreshing beverages.
If your kids want a floating raft for the pool, lay twelve pool noodles in a line and cut a piece of string that's three times the width of all of them put together. Then, to attach them to one another, fold the string in half and wrap it around each pool noodle, tying it in place on each one. Once you repeat this in the middle of the raft and at the other end, it should stay together in the water.
Your children are bound to have so much fun with these pom pom shooters, which are quite easy to make. First, cut a pool noodle down to just a few inches, then tie a knot in a balloon and slice off the end of it. Place the balloon over one end of the pool noodle and tape it in place. Finally, place pom poms in the hole and pull back the balloon knot. When you release it, you'll watch those small balls of fluff fly.
If your kids love to play sports outside, you could create a makeshift soccer goal. However, this will be much smaller than a regular one, so it may be ideal for young kids. Place two dowels in the ground, then bend the pool noodle over them to create an arch. If you wanted to make it larger, you could place the dowels further apart and tape two pool noodles together.
Another fun sports activity your kids could play is indoor basketball, as long as they have a small, light ball. To create the hoop, simply make your pool noodle into a circle and then tape it onto the wall. If you place this over your child's laundry basket, it could encourage them to throw their dirty laundry into the hamper as well.
Those who have young kids may want to cut pool noodles into blocks as a soft, light, and quiet alternative to the classic wooden ones. All you need to do is cut your pool noodle into 2-inch segments. To make this toy educational, you can add numbers, letters, or the names of the colors onto each block.
Everyone knows that kids love to build forts, and many also may love playing with Lincoln Logs as well. To pair these two fun activities together, make multiple pool noodles into giant Lincoln Logs, which your kids can use to build cabins and fortresses. All you need to do is cut the pool noodles in half, then carve out small notches in each one so that they can fit together.
While these crab crafts are adorable toys, they could also be used as name cards or sign holders at a party, since the claws can hold small pieces of paper. Start by cutting a small piece of red pool noodle in half, to create an arch shape. Then, add bent pipe cleaner legs, googly eyes on pieces of pipe cleaner, and paper claws. You can also include a tongue by cutting a small slit in the front of the crab and sliding the small piece of paper inside.
Pool noodle airplanes can be made out of cardboard, construction paper, glue, tape, and coins. To build one, cut a small piece of the pool noodle, then add cardboard (covered in construction paper) wings, which you can attach by cutting slits and gluing them to the body of the airplane. Finally, tape two to three nickels together and glue them into the nose of the airplane, which will weigh down the front.
Sometimes, young children can struggle to hold all their cards in their hands while playing a card game. If this is the case for those in your family, cut a small piece of pool noodle in half longwise, then create a slit in the middle, where the cards can fit. An alternative is cutting about a 2-inch round piece of the pool noodle out and then cutting a slit down one side. This version will allow your kids to easily hold their cards.
To make a pool party more fun, find pool noodles in unique shapes, like those with stars or flowers. Then, take a serrated knife and cut out small pieces of the noodles to create confetti. The kids can have fun gathering them, throwing them around, and making up different games. This could also help teach them how to make patterns.
A rainbow decoration could look beautiful in a child's bedroom or playroom. To fashion one, start by arranging the different-colored pool noodles in the right order for the rainbow's colors and attach them together with zip ties. Because the colors at the top will need to be larger, you may need to attach two pool noodles together with tape. You can also push skewers through the noodles to keep the decoration together. Then, cut off any extra material on the ends and hide the zip ties with two foam clouds, which you can attach with hot glue.
Young kids can have fun with their imaginations by playing with pool noodle cakes, which will fit perfectly into a muffin tin. For this easy project, just cut a pool noodle into 1-inch sections. These can be decorated with markers, stickers, rhinestones, and other items. Your children can have fun both making the play cakes and playing pretend with them.
Another way to use 1-inch round sections of a pool noodle is by making them into a stamp. Simply place the foam onto an ink pad and then allow your kids to stamp them onto pieces of paper to create their own artwork. Because this can get messy, you may want to bring this project outside and do it on the driveway or the porch.
At pool parties, it can be fun to use on-theme decorations. To make a cupcake stand, you'll need two pool noodles. Cut one of them into 5-inch pieces and hot glue each piece together; this will become the middle tier. Then, cut the other pool noodle into 3-inch pieces and hot glue them together, for the bottom tier. You should have one 3-inch piece left, which you can add to the top of the stand for the tallest cupcake to be displayed upon.
Another great decoration to use during the summer or at a pool party is a popsicle garland. Start by gluing together two small pieces of pool noodle in the same color, then add two popsicle sticks inside them. Repeat this until you have as many popsicles as you desire, then glue a rope to the back of them to attach them all together.
Because pool noodles are made out of light foam, they're perfect for DIYing decorative wreaths. To begin, cut notches out of both sides of a pool noodle and then tape them together to create a circle. Then, add hot glue onto the stems of faux flowers and greenery and press them into the foam, until it's completely filled with florals.
For this project, you'll need a yellow pool noodle for the pencil and a red one for the eraser. Cut a 12-inch piece out of the yellow one and a 2-inch piece out of the red one. Then, carve one edge of the yellow piece to create a point, and add a scrap piece to the middle of it to make it longer. Cover this end with black duct tape, then attach the eraser with silver duct tape. Using a sharpie, write whatever you want down the side of the pencil.
All you'll need to set up for this ring toss game are pool noodles, small cones, and hula hoops or other round hoops. Simply cut your pool noodle into small sizes and place each one inside a cone. Disperse these around your yard and let your kids try to throw the hoops over them. To make this into a competition, give each child three tries and assign points for each pool noodle, with the furthest ones being worth more points.
Kids who love making art will adore this art robot. To build it, start by cutting a pool noodle down to the size of a cheap electric toothbrush. The toothbrush can then be placed inside the pool noodle, and three markers can be attached to the outside of the pool noodle with two rubber bands in a triangle formation. Then, you can add eyes, a nose, and other decorations. When you place the pens on a piece of paper and turn on the toothbrush, they should start drawing on their own.
This simple craft is extremely easy to create and is great for young kids. Cut your pool noodle into 2-inch pieces; it's best if you use multiple pool noodles with different colors, as this will allow your child to play around with making patterns. Then, get a long string and allow your child to thread the pieces onto it in whatever design they desire.
Making gears out of pool noodles requires quite a few materials, but it can be a fun toy for young children. Cut your pool noodle into small, round pieces and place thumbtacks on the top of some and on the sides of others. These two types of gears will need to be placed next to one another so that when you spin one, the other turns as well. Then, glue cylinders of dried clay that fit inside the pool noodles onto cardboard and attach the gears to them.
To DIY a flower pot, cut a 3-inch piece of pool noodle and decorate it with tape. Then, cut a 1-inch round piece for the flower and another half piece for the leaf. Push the other half of the leaf into the hole in the flower pot, then poke a hole in the side of the flower with a skewer. Wrap the skewer with a green pipe cleaner and add the leaf pool noodle halfway down. Attach the skewer to the flower again, glue a pom pom in the middle, and put all the pieces together.
While a bit tricky to build, these rockets can actually fly when you pull the rubber band. Cut the pool noodle, then create three cardboard fins and attach them into slits with hot glue. Then, poke a diagonal hole through the top of the pool noodle with a skewer and feed a rubber band through. While holding both sides of the rubber band, pull it out of the top of the pool noodle and attach another rubber band like a luggage tag. Finally, wrap the first rubber band around the pool noodle and cover it with duct tape.
To construct a small turtle, cut a 1-inch piece of round pool noodle for the shell. Do the same for the legs, but cut the round piece into quarter cuts, and attach these to the shell with toothpicks. The head will be made out of half of a 1-inch piece, which you can also attach with a toothpick and add googly eyes to. Finally, include a small piece of pipe cleaner for the tail.