Pool Noodles and Pipe Cleaners: Discovery at Home

What you need:

  • Pool noodles
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the pool noodles into different shapes and sizes.
  2. Cut the pipe cleaner into different lengths as needed.
  3. Create!

Ways to Expand the Activity:

  • Add a constraint. You could add a time limit, only use a certain number of pieces, etc.
  • Add an objective. Create a structure that can hold two books using only pipe cleaners and pool noodles.

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.
  • Fine motor skills. Kids practice using the small muscles in their hands later used for writing.
  • 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!
  • Creativity! There are so many different ways to create when it’s up to your imagination. These exercises build skills to help broaden creativity.