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What Are Water Noodles?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Water noodles are inexpensive pool toys made of polyethylene foam. They come in many different lengths and bright colors, and are popular for both children and adults. Some noodles have a core that allows you to bend the noodle in different shapes that will hold, while others are simply straight or slightly flexible. The lightness of the noodles makes them excellent flotation devices, and perhaps one of the most popular pool games of all is leaping into a pool riding a water noodle.

Since water noodles must be held, they are not adequate safety support for a beginning swimmer. It’s easy to let go of one, especially when playing the aforementioned game. While it’s fine for children who don’t swim well to use the noodles, they should not be used without other, safer water supports like a life jacket, or arm flotation devices, sometimes called swimmies. Any child who is not a sure swimmer should be supervised at all times during pool play with or without noodles.

Many people enjoy water noodles because they are relatively small, as compared to large inflatable pool toys. They can simply be stacked in a corner or left to dry and then reintroduced the next year. They’re also very inexpensive. A single noodle may only cost a couple of dollars, and you can often purchase sets of noodles for less than 10 US dollars (USD).

Available are connectors that allow you to turn the noodles into wacky or practical shapes for floating. With connectors for the noodles, you can create floating chairs, animals, or a variety of other shapes for lots of pool fun. Connectors allow you the added benefit of giving the kids a chance not only to swim but also to exercise their creativity with goofy floaters.

Water noodles have become such a popular pool accessory that they’ve migrated into many water aerobics and water exercise classes. Some of the exercises involving noodles include using them as a flotation device while kicking, and pushing water noodles down into the water, which they naturally resist. This resistance makes for good strength training.

If your child is not used to water noodles, or has spent a day swimming at a friend’s house, he or she might point out a friction rash after a day of play. Some kids seem to get a small rash from the use of noodles, especially with some varieties that are more porous and scratchy. You can look for smoother noodles to end rashes, though usually, these rashes go away on their own after a few days of use of the noodles.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Feb 18, 2014

Foam water noodles have many uses outside of the pool as well. I sometimes cut them and use them around the house to protect the walls from scratches from doors. I've also given them to my kids to play with at home. At least I know that they won't hurt one another with water noodles.

By ysmina — On Feb 18, 2014

I'm taking a water aerobics class right now and we use water noodles during the class. We mostly use them for arm exercises in the water. I think they're great for water fitness and they're so easy to use. There is no need to invest in expensive fitness equipment.

By discographer — On Feb 17, 2014

Water noodles were probably created for children but they're also a hit with adults. And they're not only used in the US either, they're used all over the world now.

I went on a trip to the Mediterranean this summer and spent time on the beach. I was surprised to see that water noodles were very popular there. Almost all the shops sold them and most people on the beach had at least one. The funny thing was that I saw more adults using water noodles than children. Especially adults who couldn't swim extremely well were very fond of water noodles and held onto them while they were in the water.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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