A Love Poem
Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
I love thee’s softness, even when my gymnasts fall on you
My soul can reach into my pocket and afford you easily
I love thee’s flexibility to change into whatever shape I desire
I love thee purely, and with passion in the Target Sports aisle
My love for thee, sweet preschool prop, is unending (even when you rip a little and I have to replace you)
Poetic sonnets aside, this is my toast to the lowly pool noodle.
I use them ALL THE TIME in the Happy Gym lab. Here are some awesome things about pool noodles:
- They’re cheap & readily available (Ok, maybe not in my Denver winter, but spring is on the horizon)!
- You can change them to suit your needs (hello, crafty people!)
- They’re soft, so if kids land on them, it’s no big deal
- They fit into many themes, if you use a bit of imagination!
Here are some ideas on how to use these amazing props in your classes!
Speed bumps on Balance Beam to Walk Backward
I cut these noodles into fourths, then taped them onto this beam. It was Airplane week, so they were 'airplane propellers' that the gymnasts had to use their foot to feel as they walked backward down the beam. This was great for them to practice feeling with their foot before taking a step backward.
Hold It Up, Get Tall!
When you give a noodle (or a chunk of a noodle) to gymnasts to hold on beam, their position instantly changes. They get taller and feel more comfortable while working on a higher beam. Yes, you could do this with a tapping stick, but with a noodle, you won't have to worry about what will happen if the gymnasts falls off of the beam holding the noodle (tapping sticks are HARD and could hurt the gymnast if she falls while holding it).
Hold Stuff Up
If ya shove a noodle chunk into a cone, it'll hold a puppet or whatever else you've got going on. I used these on beam. The gymnasts had to gently tap the animal with their foot as we went past. I liked it because using the noodle to secure the puppet made it stable enough to support the gymnast's taps without falling over. It was also tall, so they had to work hard to get their leg up!
Ok, this one is a little out there. I made a bar pad using a pool noodle (in all honesty, I LOVE the bar pad from TumblTrak, but when I started, I wasn't into making that kind of investment). On this station, I tied an animal to the bar pad. The gymnasts had to put their feet onto the hilltop, hands onto the bar, lean back and try to use one hand to spin the animal around. It sounds weird and not very gymnastics-y, but it was a great strength builder! They had to hold on TIGHT (hello, grip strength), and using one arm made it an upper body and abdominal challenge.
Cheers to you, sweet pool noodles! Here's to another year of true love. If you'd like some more ideas on how to use noodles, check out this pin from our Pinterest page!