We’ve all seen this craft idea, right? While I can’t say I ever read a tutorial or a blog post about how to make it, I’ve been seeing pins of this pool noodle stringing activity since Pinterest was barely a thing. It’s one of about a million busy bag ideas floating around the interwebs nowadays. Since it seems to be one of the most frugal, and since I knew my kids would enjoy it, I bought what I needed and sacrificed eight minutes of my life to put the whole thing together.
And since I thought maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who wants a step-by-step photo tutorial of how the whole thing went, I took pictures to share here.
pool noodle busy bag
-3 feet of rope
-plastic shoebox size container (optional)
Begin by cutting your noodle in half. Unless you want a ton of circles, one noodle makes enough slices for two busy bags.
Using a sharp knife- I used my all-time favorite Rada bread knife– and a cutting board, slice each half of the noodle into one-inch sections.
Don’t worry about the noodle holding up when it’s cut. Before I got started, I wondered if the Styrofoam would crumble or break off, but it doesn’t. It holds it shape perfectly, so I imagine this activity will last a while. (Note: the noodle certainly isn’t indestructible; if your child still puts things in her mouth, she should be watched while playing with her busy bag.)
The only thing left to do is tie a knot in one end of your rope to hold the noodle slices on. You might have to knot the rope several times to make it larger than the noodle opening. If your rope is prone to fraying, you can take a lighter and hold the end of the rope in the flame until the frayed ends melt together.
That’s it! I stored my activities in shoebox size plastic containers- technically making them busy boxes, I guess- but a gallon-size Ziploc bag would work fine.
I was excited to see G. and B. use their noodle activities, mostly because I was happy to have created such a frugal activity. I knew they would enjoy stringing the noodles onto the rope, but I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity they showed.
After threading the circles onto the rope, they had a train, a snake, and caterpillar, and a hot dog. They used the circles to build towers and to create race tracks for their matchbox cars. Most boy moms might recognize G.’s “choo choo” from this next photo.
And just in case you were wondering what B. was up to during all this busy bag fun… well, she was in the middle of a threenager meltdown of unknown origins.
I promise, though, she’s enjoyed her “pink circles” several times since these photos where taken.
Have you made busy bags before? What project was your favorite?
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