Pool Noodle Balancing Act: Discovery at Home

What you need:

  • Pool noodle discs.
  • Large popsicle sticks or rulers


  1. Hold onto your stick with one hand.
  2. Use your other hand to stack the pool noodle discs one at a time onto the stick.
  3. See how tall you can make the tower without it falling!
  4. Try this a few times to see how tall you can make your tower.
  5. If you need a harder challenge, hold two sticks in one hand so they make the shape of a “V.”
  6. Try creating two towers, one on each stick.

Ways to Expand the Activity:

  • Add a time constraint. Is it more difficult when you have a constraint to deal with?
  • Try holding the stick in your mouth instead of your hand. Is it easier or harder to see and build when it is closer to your eyes? Is it more or less stable when you hold it with your mouth?

What Kids Learn:

  • Basic engineering skills. Engineers solve problems with constraints. They learn to solve problems by using the engineering design process: asking questions, coming up with solutions, building, testing and improving.
  • Spatial or visual thinking. Being able to imagine the positions of objects and how they interact is an important skill for learning math.
  • Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!
  • Hand eye coordination. Young children can use activities like this to help improve communication between their minds and bodies.