Handmade Pool Toys: Way Cooler Than Store-Bought
The seasons have changed and you are starting to think about summer water activities. You clean up the pool and pull out the pool toys from last year. Some of them are still usable but a few may be ready for the trash or recycling. Instead of replacing them with new store-bought toys, make it a project with the kids to create some fun new pool toys.
Before going to the craft store to buy material for pool toys, look around the house for things you can recycle. You and your kids will have fun turning recyclable materials into this season’s homemade pool toys.
Collect one or two liter soda bottles with their caps. Clean them out thoroughly and place the cap back on tightly. Tie a length of colorful clothesline between two bottles to create a swim lane or buoy to mark the deep end of the pool. Use them as goal lines for a water soccer game.
The smaller plastic soda bottles can be used in a variety of ways. Wash them out and fill them with just enough colored sand to make them buoyant. The kids will have fun playing catch with them in the pool because they will sink for a moment then make a colorful appearance on the surface.
Gather up any old, but unused, sponges to make pool toys. Many people have a bag sitting in a closet or garage. Make sure they have never been used because any trace of cleaning chemicals will eventually come out in the water. Cut the sponges up into strips and tie four to six strips into small bundles with a piece of string or twine. Pull the strips out so you have a pom pom sponge. These are great toys to toss around in the pool.
Once you’ve scoured the house for recyclables, it’s time for a trip to the craft store.
Craft foam is versatile. Sheets of it in different colors are inexpensive and easy to experiment with. Cut letters out of the foam. Throw them into the pool. Have the kids make words or sentences by swimming around the pool while picking out the letters they need from the surface.
Cut aquatic shapes out of the foam to make the pool toys and let the kids create their own aquarium in the pool. Several strips of craft foam attached to a small soda bottle filled partially with colored water is a passable octopus or squid. Float a hula hoop in the pool for the sea creatures to jump through as the kids put on an aquarium show.
Balloons make natural and affordable pool toys. Buy a bag of round balloons and a small plastic pail. Fill some balloons with water and attach the pail to the side of the inside of the pool. The kids can take turns throwing balloons into the pail for points. Make it a rule that if a balloon breaks, it must be removed from the pool immediately to reduce any choking risk.
Foam noodles can be fashioned into a variety of shapes. Tie a few together side by side to make a raft. Make floating circles and figure eights with them. They can even become water polo sticks using partially water-filled balloons as the ball.
Each spring, a search through the house should provide you with a variety of materials with which to create new pool toys for the upcoming summer. Think of it as a family project to generate some excitement for the summer.