Pool noodles can teach various skills and help students maintain focus during any class instruction. In particular, pool noodles are versatile, inexpensive tools for physical education classes. If your gym struggles with limited equipment or just needs more variety, you can create activity stations with pool noodles. Foam noodles are lightweight, and they can fit inside storage rooms. They’re great tools for PE classes, so read on for wonderful uses for pool noodles in gym class!
Balance activities are ideal for young children because they build core strength, muscle strength, and endurance. As kids learn how to manage and control their bodies, they can understand concentration and critical thinking. Here are some balance activities kids can do with pool noodles:
- Stand Task: Have kids stand still and balance pool noodles on various body parts (e.g., head, shoulder, palm, or foot).
- Stabilize and Move: Have kids balance pool noodles on their hands and encourage them to move around the gym. Challenge them to complete various movements like walking, skipping, or shuffling without letting the pool noodles drop.
- Balance Beam: Put the foam noodle on the floor and ask kids to walk across it. Line up four pool noodles to create a long balance beam. Remember to secure the noodles to the floor with tape.
Throw-and-catch games can improve hand-eye coordination and build arm strength. They’re also great for partner or trio tasks.
- Stationary Catch: Students throw and catch pool noodles in front of and beside them. Instruct the kids to let the noodles spin over before grabbing them.
- Drop and Catch: Kids hold the bottom of pool noodles in front of them with one hand, let go, and try to grab them again at the top using the same hand.
Partner Toss: Students throw and grab noodles with a partner or in a group.
Some physical education tasks stimulate the brain, improve focus, and encourage problem-solving. In particular, handling tasks encourage critical thinking and isolated movement.
- Propellor Turn Task: Students pretend that their bodies are helicopter propellers. They hold pool noodles above their heads and spin the noodles several times. They can also hold the noodles in front of them.
- Step Over Game: Students hold noodles with two hands. They must step over the noodles one leg at a time. The goal is to move the noodles around their bodies and repeat the movements.
- Figure Eight Activity: Students should pass the pool noodles around their legs following a figure eight pattern.
Balloon games are fun, especially when you challenge students to prevent balloons from touching the ground. Think of these activities as lightweight volleyball. Keep in mind that balloon volleying games work best with extra-large pool noodles because they help keep the balloons in the air. Here are some activities to consider:
- Tap It Up: Ask students to volley a large balloon in the air using pool noodles.
- Two Tap: Let students hold the ends of pool noodles with their hands. The goal is to keep the balloon in the air using only the middle or outside part of the pool noodle.
- Ground Tap: Let students lay on their backs on the floor. Laying down, they should keep a balloon in the air using pool noodles.
Relay games improve cardiovascular health as students compete to finish tasks as fast as they can. Furthermore, the activities encourage teamwork and coordination. You can upgrade relay races with these excellent pool noodle options:
- Retrieve Game: Students take turns throwing a noodle like a dart and running to retrieve it. They must throw it until the noodle passes a specific point across the gym. Then, they’ll take it back to the next person, who will repeat the task.
- Movement Game: Students take turns doing a specific movement to one area and back. The kids can complete an exercise (e.g., squatting, running, skipping, etc.) with noodles in hand. Then, they pass the noodles like relay sticks to other students.
Partner tasks teach students eye contact, collaboration, and teamwork. Partner tasks are also great opportunities for students to socially engage with each other. Check out these partner tasks:
- Partner Limbo: One student holds a pool noodle at various levels, while the other student bends backward and attempts to pass under the noodle without grazing it.
- Companion Hurdle: Tell one student to hold the foam noodle at different levels, while another student runs and hurdles over it.
- Circle Jump: Ask one student to turn a pool noodle in a slow circle as another person jumps over it when the noodle comes around.
Striking activities like hitting a baseball with a bat let students demonstrate advanced sports-specific movements. They also improve reaction time, agility, and power.
- Beach Ball Strike: Students can toss a beach ball up in front of them and strike it with their pool noodles.
- Noodle Dribble: Have students use pool noodles to dribble lightweight balls.
Target throw activities are great for people of all ages because they support hand-eye coordination. Target throw games also help kids understand movement strategies to determine the best way to hit a target. Here are a few games to integrate into your gym class:
- Distance Game: Students stand on a gym line and pretend that their pool noodles are darts. Students will take three steps and see how far they can throw their noodles.
- Hit the Target: Mark a wall with a target (i.e., a sheet of paper with a large red dot). Challenge kids to throw pool noodles like darts to see if they can hit the target.
- Hula-Hoop Target: Instead of a wall target, you can use a Hula-Hoop as the new mark. Prop up various Hula-Hoops and ask kids to throw the noodles like darts. The goal is to make the noodles land inside or go through the hoops.
From balance activities to handling tasks, there are many wonderful uses for pool noodles in gym class. The lightweight foam item is versatile, making it the perfect gym tool for students of all ages. Remember to incorporate these fun games, activities, and tasks throughout the school year!