Summertime and pools go hand-in-hand. While children are enjoying their time cooling off and splashing around, there are ways to also incorporate therapeutic tasks that keep pool time interesting.
Here is how you can take an affordable and simple toy like a pool noodle and turn it into a great physical therapy tool to use right in your own backyard.
What is a Pool Noodle
Just about any store you visit in the summer months that sells pool accessories will have a display with pool noodles that typically cost somewhere around one dollar. These toys float in water and can be used for a multitude of games and imaginary play.
By hanging on to the noodle, kids can float about in the water. However, for a child with lower muscle tone or other physical limitations, this task can be difficult to achieve.
Pool Noodles for Therapy
You can help your child enjoy pool noodles too this summer and even use the noodles as a way to help strengthen their core and improve their sitting balance and stability.
Have your child straddle the pool noodle and remain sitting. Encourage them to not lean front or back onto the noodle. This task in itself may be very difficult due to the buoyancy of the water. Your child will actually have to work very hard to maintain their upright posture.
Once your child masters this, you can have them either try to propel themselves with their legs, arms or both, while still trying to avoid leaning on the noodle or losing their balance. This movement incorporates an additional challenge to the child’s balance and posture as they will need to work even harder to maintain their position.
If you want to kick things up a notch, you can even make this task harder (and even more fun) by using your arms or paddle board to create waves in the water in your child’s direction. You can make the waves small or large depending on your child’s capabilities and have them coming from various directions. As the waves get closer, encourage your child to keep a “strong body!”
*Keep in mind that safety is always a priority so you may need another adult close by to assist.
Pool noodles are easy to find and probably the most affordable pool accessory out there. They are such a simple tool that can make pool time more therapeutic and be incorporated all summer long! Let us know if you’ve tried this or any other pool time fun you’re having with the kid’s summer.