Pool noodles serve a purpose for people who have, you know, pools. But they're more useful than you think, regardless of how much water fills your backyard. Just ask the moms of TikTok who are using these foam tubes ($1.25 at Dollar Tree FTW!) to fortify cribs and bunk beds, prevent nap disruptions, and even provide some summer entertainment.
So, got some spare noodles? Or a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket that you can use to stock up on these summer essentials? If so, look no further for inspo.
Taking it from the top: @ljflommom's pool noodle hack has racked up 10.1M views in just over a month. In her TikTok, she kicks things off by menacingly wielding a chef's knife and a noodle (the recipe for any successful TikTok, really!). She hacks off a foot-long chunk of green foam, then slices it halfway through lengthwise before stretching it around the edge of a bedroom door to prevent it from slamming and starling her sleeping baby. While viewers dutifully commented that, hey, she could just toss a towel over the door to do the trick, others liked this hack for babyproofing since it also protects teeny tiny fingers from getting stuck in the door.
Next up, @mrskcmama wedges a red pool noodle under her kiddos' fitted crib sheet to create elevation that prevents her daughter from rolling out of the convertible toddler bed. While it looks like the noodle will stay in place for a maximum of two seconds, it's sure worth a shot when gravity might otherwise put a little person in peril, and real safety bed rails can run nearly $30.
Bunk Bed Ladder Buffer
Another surprisingly practical use for pool noodles, according to the all-mighty TikTok, is padding around bunk bed ladder steps. For this hack, according to @Chelseyhatfield_, who posted a tutorial back in March 2022, you use a scissor to cut the noodle into rung-length sections, then cut halfway through each section lengthwise and position one around every ladder rung. While I would personally amend this project by wrapping padded rungs with duct tape to stop them from slipping off (sorry, I run nervous!), I already feel better about Chelsey's kiddo's every ascent.
Cheap, Easy, Endlessly Entertaining Toys
Tired of buying tons of expensive bath or pool toys, only for your kids to wreck them? At best, they last one season and you’re left wondering why you shelled out so much for them in the first place. Well, say hello to this clever pool noodle hack from @handsonfamily. All you need to do is cut your pool noodles into smaller pieces, or rings, to create the perfect bath or pool activity for your kids. This family used thick string and a wooden “needle” (not sharp, obviously) so the kids can thread the rings, make necklaces, etc. As demonstrated, the rings can also be used for stacking activities — and honestly, for such a simple hack, the playtime possibilities here are kind of endless.
Perhaps my personal favorite pool noodle hack is this one from @gracesharer, who is not technically a parent, but the creator of this kid-friendly concept. In her TikTok, which has racked up nearly 105K views since last spring, she patches up one end of a pool noodle using what appears to be heavy-duty adhesive tape, then stuffs the other end with a garden hose before using kitchen scissors to stab the crap out of it. Voilá, a sprinkler!
What more could you want from a pool noodle?!
Editor’s Note: Always practice good judgment when borrowing hacks from TikTok. If you’re ever concerned about the safety of something, err on the side of caution and skip. Or, in the case of hacks that involve kids, ask your child’s pediatrician if they suggest an alternative solution.