Updated: May 14, 2020
We all know that pool noodles can provide hours of entertainment at the beach or pool, but did you know they have lots of other uses as well?
From games to crafts and more, there are tons of fun things to do with pool noodles. Below are 23 creative pool noodle ideas you probably haven’t thought of. But first, a primer on pool noodles.
What’s a Pool Noodle?
Wikipedia describes a pool noodle as “a cylindrical piece of buoyant polyethylene foam, sometimes hollow”. While mainly used for water related purposes such as learning to swim, playing, water rescue, or aquatic exercise, pool noodles are extremely versatile and have hundreds of other uses.
What Are Pool Noodles Made Of?
Pool noodles are usually made of polyethylene foam, which a lightweight, durable, closed cell material that is used for packing fragile goods for shipping. This versatile material is used to make foam noodles because it is soft yet rigid, it resists water and mold, and it is non-toxic.
Where Can You Buy Pool Noodles?
Fortunately, pool noodles are easily available both locally and online. Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond are a few brick and mortar stores that sell pool noodles.
Pool Noodle Games
#1 – Pool Noodle Ring Toss
To make your own pool noodle ring toss game, you’ll need to cut a pool noodle in half. Stick two stakes in the ground and slide a half pool noodle ever each one.
Make as many rings as you want wrapping foam noodles end to end to form a circle and securing them in place with duct tape.
#2 – DIY Outdoor Bowling Lane
Make a DIY bowling game using three pool noodles for the lane, a yoga matt for the bottom, aluminum soda bottles for the pins, and an inflatable beach ball as your bowling ball.
Use two pool noodles to make the sides of your lane and one for the back. Cut the back to match the width of your yoga matt. Using toothpicks or tape to attach the sides to the back, assemble your bowling lane and place it on top of the mat.
Set up your soda bottles, and use the beach ball to knock down the pins. To make the game a little more challenging, fill the bottles partway up with sand.
#3 – Pool Noodle Raft Racing
For this, you will be creating a raft made up of PVC piping and lots of pool noodles. This in itself is a fun project you can do with your kids. The video above explains how to create a noodle raft.
Once done, place the raft in the water (pool or lake). The racer stands on the raft and uses a kayak oar to make their way across the water to the finish line. You can either time each racer or if there’s enough room, have them compete side-by-side.
To prevent accidents, you want to make sure you have plenty of room around you in case you fall off. A lake or large swimming pool is best.
#4 – Raft Jousting
Kids (especially boys) will love this one. Using the same raft concept from the idea above, each person stands on a raft using a joust made from PVC pipe and two pool noodles. The first player to knock the other into the water using their joust wins!
See Also: 15 Fun Swimming Pool Games for Kids
#5 – Tic-Tac-Toe
Cut five slices from two different colored pool noodles. Using chalk, draw a grid on the driveway or sidewalk. The foam noodle pieces take the place of the O’s and X’s.
#6 – Marble Racer
For this one, you’ll need to cut your pool noodles in half lengthwise. Attach the noodles together so that the semi-circles are facing up.
Lean them against a chair and let the bottom rest on the ground. Make one for each child so that the kids can race their marbles down the tracks.
#7 – Hopscotch
Tape some pool noodles together to create a hopscotch board for the kids. Put it on the driveway and use chalk to write numbers in the squares.
#8 – Beach Ball Hockey
Divide your players up into even teams and set up a goals using two pool noodles connected together. The players will use pool noodles to hit the beach ball down the field to try to score a goal. Kids of all ages will love it!
#9 – Chopsticks
The players use two pool noodles to pick up balloons and put them into a laundry basket. Whoever picks up the most balloons wins.
#10 – Swords and Bubbles
Little ones will love this game! It’s even a one of the best activities for toddlers at the beach. An adult blows bubbles while the kids use pool noodles like swords to pop the bubbles. Even the adults will think it looks fun so you may have to reverse who does what.
Pool Noodle Crafts
#11 – Make a Wreath
It’s super easy to make a perfect, round wreath with a pool noodle. Simply cut it to the length you want, pull the ends together to form the round shape, and tape them into place with some clear packing tape.
To keep things simple, cover the pool noodle with pretty fabric and glue it into place. If you want to get fancy, you can add decorations like greenery and dried flowers all the way around the wreath using florist wire to hold them into place.
Or, for a cute summer wreath, wrap the noodle with Hawaiian leis and attach a pair of flip flops.
#12 – Pool Noodle Boats
Start by cutting a one-inch round from your pool noodle to form the bottom of each boat. Now, cut a triangular sail for each boat from a foam sheet and punch holes in the top and bottom.
Thread a straw through the holes in the sail. Finally, use a pair of scissors to make a hole in the pool noodle sections and insert the sail to finish the boat.
#13 – Floating Luminaries
Create floating luminaries for your next pool party by cutting pool noodles into three-inch sections. Place battery operated tea lights with plastic wrapped bottoms into each noodle piece, turn on the lights, and float your luminary in the water.
#14 – Pool Noodle Pony
Fold over the top third of a pool noodle and tape it into place to create the head of your pony. Now, just glue on googly eyes and a felt manes to finish off your pony.
Other Uses for Pool Noodles
#15 – Make a Floating Cooler
Grab a plastic bin and cut some poodles noodles to the proper length for each side. Now thread a piece of rope through the foam noodles and tie them tightly into place around the top edge of the container.
Add ice and drinks, and you’ve got a floating cooler for the pool. Goes perfect with your river float tube if you attach a rope.
#18 – Prevent Your Clothes From Creasing
Cut pieces of pool noodle to the length of your hangers. Then, cut a slit in each piece and slide it over the bottom of the hangar. Now you can drape pants or skirts over the hanger, and they won’t crease (or fall off).
#19 – Make Your Kids a Playhouse
Using several pool noodles and some duct tape, form a cube as the structure for the playhouse. If you want, you can add triangles for the roof. Simply drape a big sheet over the playhouse to close it in, and your kids will be occupied for hours.
#16 – Protect Your Car Door
If your kids are always hitting your car doors off the wall in your garage, attach pool noodles to the wall where the doors usually hit. This creates a soft buffer that protects your door from damage.
#20 – Make Napkin Rings
Make brightly colored napkin rings for your next outdoor party by slicing one-inch pieces off of a pool noodle. Cut a slit in each piece and insert a set of napkin-wrapped silverware into the center.
#21 – Make a Shopping Cart Bumper
If you have a baby that’s just learning how to sit up, you can protect her from hurting herself or chewing on the cart by cutting a pool noodle to length, adding a slit, and placing it over the bar of the cart.
#17 – Protect Your Kids From Trampoline Springs
Simply cut pieces of pool noodle to the proper length, cut a slit in each one, and place the foam sections over the springs for added protection. This is perfect for those trampolines that don’t have an enclosure net.
See Also: Best Water Trampolines and Bouncers
#22 – Turn a Pool Noodle Into a Sprinkler
Turn a pool noodle into a sprinkler by poking holes along its length and covering one end with duct tape. Insert your hose into the other end and tape it firmly into place. Turn the water on and watch the kids (or the dog!) play.
#23 – Make a Doorstop
If you want to prevent little ones from closing doors and locking themselves in, or stop older kids from slamming doors, make a cheap doorstop from an old pool noodle. Just cut it into sections, make a slit, and put it over the edge of the door. Perfect for those heavy doors inside garage doors that close on their own.
These are just a sample of the creative things you can do with pool noodles. The great thing about pool noodles is that you’re only limited by your imagination for coming up with uses and they’re super cheap!
You probably even have some old ones from last year laying around in your garage. Why not pull them out and give one of these clever pool noodle ideas a try?
I recently had someone contact me saying how they use pool noodles cut in half lengthwise to get frogs out of a swimming pool. If you have another good pool noodle idea, please comment below to share with others.