Active Learning Lessons for Kids
It’s summer time! If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive way to keep your young children learning all summer long, how about using Pool Noodles! Pool noodles can be found everywhere. They are inexpensive, lightweight, come in bright colors and can be used so many ways. Here are 6 of my favorite ways to incorporate active learning while playing with pool noodles.
After your child has mastered hitting a balloon in the air with his/her hand, it is time to advance to the next level…hitting the balloon with a pool noodle. I recommend cutting a pool noodle into 3 equal pieces. Each piece will measure approximately 15” long. This is a perfect length for young children to successfully manipulate the noodle to hit a balloon. They can hit it on the ground or in the air. Challenge older children to see how many times they can keep the balloon up by counting every hit, before the balloon eventually floats to the ground. This is a fun way to practice eye-hand coordination.
Lay a long pool noodle on the ground and encourage your preschooler to jump up and over the pool noodle using a two footed take-off and landing. Jumping with both feet together helps children develop coordination and leg strength. Count and jump forward, backward, and sideways. Older children can be encouraged to jump over the noodle then move it forward a few inches and jump again. Keep moving the noodle until it is too far away to jump over. Measure the distance and it turns into a math lesson!
3. Obstacle Course
Gather 4 or more pool noodles and set up an obstacle course. Obstacles courses are a great way for children to learn directional movement concepts. Concepts like over, under, in front of, behind, and between are often hard for young children to understand unless they actually experience these movements. What a fun way to learn prepositions! For example, put a noodle between two chairs to crawl under, jump over, and/or put two pool noodles 6” apart and walk between them. Cut a pool noodle in half, lengthwise and it turns into a balance beam. Improving balance and learning movement concepts is definitely a win/win with this noodle obstacle course. Click here for more obstacle course ideas.
4. Alphabet Matching Game
This game takes little prep and is an exciting, active way for preschoolers to learn letters. First, cut a pool noodle or two into 26 pieces that are each about 2” thick. Write one alphabet letter on each piece and put them in a bag or bucket. Grab your ABC’s of Movement cards or download your set. If you are new to our blog, check out this post. Spread the ABC’s of Movement cards on the ground and have your child match the noodle piece to the correct cards. Once the match is made, do that movement before matching the next noodle piece to another letter.
5. Stringing Noodles
Use the 2” thick alphabet noodles you created for the Alphabet Matching Game and get a heavy piece of string. Start with the letter “A” and thread the pool noodles on the string from A-Z.
6. Noodle Drop
Hold onto a pool noodle lengthwise with both hands with the short end on the ground. Briefly let go of the noodle and then quickly catch it before it drops. This bilateral coordination games requires young children to use both hands together and also use eye hand coordination to release the noodle and catch it with both hands before it falls over. Once that movement concept has been practiced successfully, make it a cooperative learning game by having two children stand facing each other with the pool noodle between them. The first child holds onto the noodle, releases it, and the second child catches it with two hands before it drops. Switch so each child has a turn to drop and catch the pool noodle.
There are oodles of noodle activities and ways to learn through play activities with pool noodles. These activities focused on active learning with an emphasis on gross motor and fine motor skills for preschoolers. For more ideas for educational materials for preschoolers, check out 6 active learning games using scarves or hoop, hoop, hurray!