3 Low-Prep Foam Pool Noodle Games You Need to Try Now

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Floating swim noodles

Foam noodles, the kind that you have stashed away all winter, are incredible for games all year! Here are three simple, cheap, low-prep pool noodle games that celebrate the foam pool noodle. Try the basic version first, and then risk the Ridiculous Option.

1. Recently named Best Noodle Warfare Game Ever

Never mind that there aren’t that many Noodle Warfare Games. This one is the best. EVER. With indoor and outdoor variations, you can do this any time using your stash of noodles and raiding the kitchen for cups.

Materials:

  • One plastic cup per participant (best size is the red 16oz, but really any size will do).
  • Confetti  or cotton balls (indoor) OR  water (outdoor).
  • One bucket per team.

Preparation: Mark off an area of play (for 25 or more use a basketball court sized area, for less than 25 use a half-court sized area). On opposite sides line up a noodle per person (one color per side), a cup for each person, and a bucket. Fill the cup with either confetti, cotton balls, or water.

Game: The goal of the game is to protect the contents of the cup. Place a leader by each bucket to prevent students from pouring the contents of their cup into the bucket before the end of the game. Using the whole field of play, students must try to knock, spill, or empty the opposing team’s cups using only their noodles. Players must hold onto their cup the entire time. At the end of 5 minutes (playing time can vary based on number of people playing) call the game and have the teams empty their cups into the bucket. The team with the fullest bucket wins. With students teaming up to protect there cups, lone ranger charges to scatter the crowd, and water or cottontails flying everywhere, this is the Best Noodle Warfare Game ever.

Ridiculous Option: For an outdoor version, make it a messy game using chocolate sauce, flour, milk, ketchup, mustard, and other easily spill-able items instead of water.

2. Noodle-ing Field Hockey

This is a great indoor or outdoor game for a large room, gym, or field. Noodles make a great equalizer between the naturally athletic and the less so. It is hilarious to watch a student swing with all their might at the ball and it barely move!

Materials:

  • Half of a noodle per participant (ideally half would be one color and the other half a different color)
  • 1-3 game balls
  • 4 cones or other objects to mark goals

Preparation: Place goals apart from each other roughly the length of a basketball court. Divide your students into two equal teams, giving each team one color of noodle. Place 1 game ball in the middle.

Game: Using only noodles, teams attempt to score hitting the ball through the opposing team’s goal. You can set up your team as if you are playing field hockey or soccer. Hands and feet are not allowed to touch the ball. As the game gets going, throw in extra game balls. For variety, use different types of balls, such as a basketball, a kickball and a foam dodgeball. The crazy, quasi-athletic contest begins as students realize how challenging it is to use a noodle to move a basketball.

Ridiculous Option: Instead of one noodle per person, give one noodle for every two people on the team. A noodle must have at least two people attached at all times.

3. Noodle Fencing

This one will take the most work, but might have the biggest reward. There are two variations, 1-on-1 or chaos-mode. 1-on-1 pits students against each other in individual contests, with winners advancing in a single elimination. Chaos mode is everyone at once with leaders as referees calling people out and a lone individual claiming victory. I am sure you could create teams or other games as well.

Materials:

  • Half of a noodle per participant
  • flour
  • knee-high hose or leggings
  • string

Preparation: Cut noodles in half. Pour half a cup of flour into a single knee-high and tie the open end with the string leaving a long enough tail on the string to pass through the length of your half-noodle.  Pull the string through the noodle until the flour is compressed against one end.  Duct-tape the end of the knee-high you just pulled through to the handle side of the noodle. Now you have a noodle saber with a flour-filled tip.

Game: By now you see where this is going. The flour side will leave a mark on any student, while sending a glorious plume into the air marking the hit. A good rule for a referee is three marks and the person is out. Chaos-mode is hilarious, with the room filled with astonished laughter, flour plumes and gymnastics.

Ridiculous Option: Turn it into a jousting contest. Place one student with a flour-tipped noodle into a wheelbarrow driven by an adult and another student. Set up pairs of jousters and compete until one is crowned champion.

Combining this game with our color wars will likely be so awesome that no one will be able to speak for a day.

Image attribution: galbiati / Thinkstock

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Aaron is a deacon in the Anglican Church of North America serving as the Student Ministry Team Lead at University United Methodist in San Antonio, TX. He has focused on raising lifelong disciples of Jesus in student ministry for 14 years. Aaron and his family, Lyndee, Isaac, and Grace, have a deep love of the wild and living simply. They spend much of their time backpacking, gardening, hiking, cooking, and chasing chickens. You can see what is happening at The U Student Ministry on Instagram #theUstudents.

1 COMMENT

  1. I want to try game #1 from your glowing recommendation, but I just picture participants beating each others hands with pool noodles, hitting faces in the process. Is this what happens? Also, do participants start out with cup and noodle in hand on their baseline and charge into combat or do they start some other way? Thanks for the great games, can’t wait to try them.

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