I saw this idea originally here on mumma made it and have been wanting to do it ever since. We have had thunderstorms for a few days so what a perfect opportunity to try it out.
All you will need are pool noodles, gumballs, and a serrated knife.
I cut the pool noodles into different lengths and then cut them in half. You can use scissors for this, but a serrated knife made it so easy (be careful, though).
I set up a system of the “slides” on the furniture. My kids were tickled pink.
I had them guess whether the gumball was going to make it to the bottom or not. This time it didn’t make it.
We played around with a few different ways of putting the slides and connecting them. I challenged Cole to make a system using at least 3 different colors. Here is what he very meticulously made.
He was hoping the gumball would shoot up at the end and into his mouth. You and I know that it didn’t do that, but didn’t understand why. So I had the opportunity to explain (in preschooler terms) about speed, force, and gravity.
We also set up slides next to each other to race. We wondered if certain colors would go faster than others. We had to test it out and talked about why they went equally fast.
We tested out whether the incline would make a difference on how fast it went. My son was really into trying all sorts of angles. I think we did this experiment at least 20 times on different pieces of furniture.
While my daughter didn’t really get into the hypothesis and explaining part, she loved participating in the testing. She would squeal as the gumballs went shooting down the slides.
This can easily be modified using a marble, but I know my toddler and I know she would put it in her mouth. So I opted for gumballs. If I know it is going in her mouth I might as well use something that is meant to be there.
While gumballs are a suitable choice for preschoolers with supervision, they are choking hazards for under 3 years of age. My house has gumballs often (thanks for the gumball machine Grandma) and my children are very familiar with them. I was very confident doing this activity with my daughter. You know your children and if you are not comfortable doing this with them, it is better not to.
This activity was a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of different science concepts with my preschooler. I took advantage of the different colors of pool noodles and gumballs and showed them to my toddler. Overall it was a great activity for both age levels. We had a lot of fun doing it.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
How ingenious! I would’ve never thought to use pool noodles for such a purpose. Thanks for sharing this neat experiment!
The activity Mom says
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We do something similar w/wrapping paper tubes, but I like how the pool noodles are open slides instead.
Nicole @TeamPipkin says
What a great idea.
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Very clever. My son wants to do it now! I’m looking for activities at a pool part with noodles and like this!