50 Ways to Use Your Noodle is the first book to receive a Major FUN award. There’s something inherently funny about saying the words “Pool Noodle.” Go ahead. Give it a try. Say: pool noodle, pool noodle, pool noodle. See what I mean? Even thinking about a pool noodle, a noodle in a pool, a pool full of pool noodles is kind of fun. And playing with a pool noodle, in a pool, of course, sitting on one, lying on one, lying on several…fun, all fun.
Well, what Chris Cavert and Sam Sikes tell you what you can do with pool noodles, on the land, even, is every bit as fun, and even more inventive than that. They’ve written two noodle books, as a matter of fact: 50 Ways to Use Your Noodle and 50 More Ways to Use Your Noodle.
Now, before I go any further, I want to warn you. Page through these books, and you’re going to want to invest heavily in pool noodles. At about $3/noodle, we’re not talking junk. Though you could purchase Tubular Polyethylene Foam Pipe Insulation, Pre-Slit, 3/8″ Wall Thickness, For Use On 1/2″ Copper Pipe Or 1/4″ Iron Pipe, for maybe $3 for 4 3-foot sections. Which is more junk-like, but not much cheaper. Not only are you going to want to buy many, many pool noodles (at least one for each player), but you’re going to want to (dare I mention this? yes, yes, I must) cut some of your noodles into 3-foot “Midaronis,” 3-inch “Minironis,” and 1-1/4-inch “Meatballs.”
OK, by now you get a good sense of the tone of the whole thing: fun, funny, creative, inventive. So you’re ready for at least one game. Like, for example, Balloon Volleyball, played with Midaronis. Do I need to explain this any more? Everyone with their own Midaroni. Trying to hit a large balloon over a volleyball net. Do you need me to tell you what fun this can be? Or how about the baseball-like “Bustin Burgers” game – where one player sails pool noodle Meatballs to the Midaroni-swinging batter?
You might not expect the more creative activities, like the semi-self-explanatory “Noodle Doodles.” And in all likelihood, you wouldn’t have begun to anticipate the group team-building, problem-solving aspect of the whole thing, with exercises like seeing how many Meatballs or Minironis two people can hold between them. And yes, in the 50 More Ways book you’ll even find pool noodle games you can play in the – can you believe it – pool.
Together, the Noodle books are a treasure of creative, playful, problem-solving fun that should prove an invaluable resource to any youth leader, team builder, or provocateur of playfulness.
RE: Noodle Economics
Chris comments: “we found that the foam pipe insulation is okay for some of the noodle book activities, however, it doesn’t have the rigidity for most games. Also, you lose the “visual” pull the colors have. Even though you might pay $3.50 (or so) for a noodle, you’ll cut the long ones in half – thus cutting your cost in half. And, as long as the participants don’t pick on or chew the noodles they last a very long time – the return on investment is great. Bonus: if you buy in the fall they are really cheap – stores don’t like to warehouse them because they take up so much space (some stores give them away to educational programs just to get rid of them before the winter months).”