Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pool Noodle Activities for Toddlers

I'm so pleased to announce that Suzy Homeschooler will be joining our Toddler Series and will be sharing toddler activities on Wednesdays with us! This week we are sharing Pool Noodle activities! I will be sharing three fine motor activities and Suzy Homeschooler will be sharing three gross motor activities!

On the first day, we set up a building activity. I left it up to the kids to decide what to build. Bean built a few towers and then jumped into them or kicked them around. They bounce around very easily and luckily do not make quite a ruckus as blocks do. 

She loves building little cities and these pool noodles make unique blocks! You can chop them up further, into halves or quarters, for more unique pieces.

Munchkin copied Bean and stacked up the pool noodles. 

Then he had a fantastic idea and ran out of the room and came back with his build-it-yourself truck. He had figured out that he could use the pool noodles as make-shift tires for his truck and loved the idea!

He pretended to be a mechanic and fixed up the truck with new tires and tested them out by driving them around.

They did fairly well, considering they were wobbly and not secured. But they worked for a while and Munchkin loved it! He spent over an hour testing out different "tires" and finding the best ones for his truck.

Afterwards we decided to practice counting with the pool noodles. Some of our noodles are numbered and others have letters on them. We took out our fake roses and used those as our counters and matched them to a stack of pool noodles. Stack one wouldn't stand on its own, so we laid it on its side, but the others held up. The kids counted the noodles and then counted out the correct number of roses and then added them to the "noodle vase". We only worked to five because after 6 the stacks because wobbly with the uneven weight of the roses tipping them over. 

On the second day we set up a simple abacus inspired contraption. I first saw the idea on Happy Hooligans and loved it! She used a rope, but since we did not have any on hand, we used sinew. Yeah, I totally used my good dream catcher sinew on this! I will be upgrading to a rope as soon as we have one available, because I'm sure the noodles will stay on much easier! The sinew is quite thin, so sometimes the noodles fall off. A bright rope would work perfectly, so it is easy to see and thick enough for the noodles not to fall off.

I sliced the noodles up and then cut a slit down the side, to open it up to the middle. This way the noodles can be easily put on the rope. It will definitely be a wise choice to cut them thicker next time! The noodles can be used for literacy and math activities. You can use a Sharpie to write letters and numbers and symbols on the sides. You can use them to sort and match or create color patterns. They can be used for counting and learning the alphabet, or even spelling!

Between two close trees, I wrapped the sinew around three times. This adds a small amount of dimension and means the little kids can stand on both sides or underneath to add the pool noodles. Our yard is visited by many neighborhood kids, so I was sure to add a taller one in case they wanted to play too (which they did!).

Then between two trees spaced about 20 feet apart I tied one long line of sinew. I have 4 more noodles that we just picked up and are waiting to be cut up, so they will fit perfectly on this line! We picked out red, green, blue and orange. Two have flower shapes too! They will make a fine addition and will make it fun to learn math outside while playing!

This would be a fun outdoor fine motor activity for toddlers! My son loves running up and down the line pulling the noodles along. He carries around a bucket and takes some down and puts others back up.

Our new pool noodles will be joining the rest today!

On the third day we set up a pool noodle painting activity. The kids picked out a couple different noodles that they wanted to use. 

I filled a tray with acrylic paint in the colors they chose.

They eagerly began painting! (And can you believe that they still make helicopter hats? I had no idea! My kids are obsessed.)

Bean especially loved painting with the flower shaped noodles!

Stamp, stamp, stamp! He loved smearing the paint around too!

Bean loves color blending, so I knew the flowers wouldn't last long. :)

My son only painted one page and then ran off to return to his salt tray (still obsessed with them!), while Bean worked on several more! We save paintings like this for homemade birthday cards for family and friends. :)

Be sure to visit Suzy Homeschooler's Gross Motor Pool Noodle Activities post!

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