We had so much fun last week using a pool noodle and a handful of marbles! We were originally inspired from some ideas on the web from We Can Do All Things and Your Therapy Source. It was actually quite funny because we used to have a pool noodle but we had cut it up to use for positioning for a kiddo who didn’t get quite enough support in their adapted stroller (it just firm enough to offer support and it can cut into small pieces as well as in half or quarters). So, we were looking at the above ideas and saying that we needed to go buy a new pool noodle, when not 5 minutes later, the family whose kiddo was using our cut up pool noodle walked through the door with a brand new one for us! Needless to say we were quite excited to try out our new ideas!
We basically left the noodle intact and dropped marbles down the hole. Sounds simple but add a few twists to it and we were able to use it for PT and OT and work on a number of skills. Here are all the skills we were able to accomplish by playing with this one simple concept:
- Stairs – We rested the noodle on the stairs and had kiddos walk up the stairs in order to drop the marble down the noodle. Then they had to walk back down in order to collect the marbles again.
- Squatting – In order to pick up the marbles the kiddos had to squat down to pick them up and then return to standing
- Pincer Grasp – When they pick up the marbles on the ground as well as when they are holding the marble just prior to dropping it down the noodle the pincer grasp is the most efficient grasp and easiest to accomplish their goal.
- Reaching – When the kiddo is at the top of the stairs and holding on to the noodle, we had them reach for the marble across their body to work on crossing midline.
- Balance – Having the stand and reach as well as squat to pick things up and then to concentrate on getting the marble in the hole of the noodle all can challenge balance, especially for kiddos who have balance challenges.
- Hand-Eye Coordination – Dropping the marble into the small hole on the noodle requires coordinating their vision and their fine motor skills. In addition if you have a target at the bottom of the stairs that they can aim for to get the marble in its a great game. See how many point they can get. You can use a paper bag or two cones depending on how accurate the kiddos are.
- Bilateral Hand Use – The kiddos have to hold the noodle in one hand while putting the marble in with the other hand. They have no other option but to use two hands to accomplish the goal.
- Fun – For some reason the kiddos think its great when the marble comes rolling out of the other end of the noodle and are intrigued enough to want to do it over and over again!
The best part is we have even more ideas for using pool noodles which we’ll tell you about in another post! How have you used pool noodles?