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The first official day of summer is but days away and, so, summer recreation items are on sale everywhere.  Well, don’t just breeze by that bin of inexpensive pool noodles.  Dig down into your pocket for some spare change to purchase a few.  With your SPD lenses on, you will find yourself investing in a terrific sensory tool for the entire year!

Today’s challenge: Think out-of-the-water pool noodle fun and skills! Original Purpose 1: A device for learning to swim, floating, playing in the water and partaking in aquatic exercise

With SPD Lenses 1: Tactile Sensory Bin Filler
Grab some pool noodles of different colors and shapes. With a serrated knife or small saw, carefully divide them into pieces of different widths, from five inches on down. Toss them all into a big sensory bin. (One of those under-the-bed plastic storage containers that is on sale at this time of year will do nicely.) Set it out as is as its own tactile sensory activity for children to create structures with. Or, hide objects in it for kids to dig in and find.

With SPD Lenses 2: Proprioceptive Two Person Tug-o-War “Rope”
Need a quick proprioceptive SI break? Pick a partner and a pool noodle and, with two feet planted on the ground, start tugging. The first person to move a foot or lose balance loses.

With SPD Lenses 3: Vestibular Obstacle Course
Work the vestibular sense by crawling, balancing and jumping through a noodle obstacle course. One laid over two chairs can be slithered under. One laid lengthwise can be balanced on. Two laid parallel can be jumped over. The possibilities are endless…

With SPD Lenses 4: Motor Planning Noodle “Jenga”
Have fun with a bit of motor planning by cutting a set of noodles in quarters and then challenging someone to stack them with you to make as tall a structure as possible without it tipping over.

With SPD Lenses 5: Bilateral Coordination Giant Ring Toss
Grab some small blow up pool rings while they are on sale. Then, stand with your feet in a fixed position while holding a noodle in both hands at one end. Have a partner throw the rings at you, while you try to shift or turn to the left, right, high, low, forward and backward, all the while not moving your feet, to catch them. Then, switch roles. You’ll be working on your bilateral and eye-hand coordination this way!

With SPD Lenses 6: Visual Processing Giant Stringing Beads
With a serrated knife or small saw, cut noodles into one-inch thick pieces. Grab some rope or wire and go to town stringing and tying to make cool designs. If you use the grooved noodles, you’ll get fun flower shaped pieces that can make interesting door bead curtains or giant Hawaiian necklaces all while working visual processing and motor coordination.

With SPD Lenses 7: Motor Planning Spelling Challenge
Grab a stack of noodles – some cut in halves or thirds and some full size – and a spelling list. (Short words are best of this of course. Think phonics families.) Use the noodles to try to make the shapes of the letters that spell the words.

What other ideas can you come up with using your own noodle?

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Martianne is a homeschooling mom with over 20 years of experience in education, youth work and dramatic arts both in the United States and abroad. With certifications as a Middle School Generalist and English 8-12 teacher, plus a drawer full of certificates from a wide variety of professional development workshops and graduate courses, she brings a comprehensive "traditional" background to her present-day creative pursuits. Visit Martianne at Training Happy Hearts.