Caterpillar Counting

Those foam pool noodles are quickly becoming my favorite “manipulative”.  For just $1, we’ve gotten three different uses out of one noodle (the rest of which I’ll share later this week).  For this activity, we created a number game that Big Brother was able to complete independently.  And it works on number recognition and one-to-one correspondence!

Here’s what you’ll need:  one foam pool noodle, a sharp knife, a Sharpie, rope (I couldn’t find any around here so we used rubber weatherproofing!), and a pipe cleaner.  Optional:  hot glue gun and googly eyes.


1.  Use a sharp knife to cut the foam noodle.  The widths of our pieces varied from 1-2 inches.

Cut 11 pieces total.

2.  Use a Sharpie to write the numerals on each piece.  I wrote one on the front and one on the back.

Can you see our yellow kitchen in the background.  I.can’t.stand it.  Oh well, I guess it will stay this way for a while…

3.  Add a face.
Optional:  Use a glue gun to add googly eyes and an antenna.

Isn’t he cute?

4.  Once you’re ready, put all the pieces and your “rope” in a pile.

5.  Tie a knot on one end of the rope.

6.  Encourage your child to find #1 first and put it next to the caterpillar face. Then #2 and so on.

Counting the numbers…after he was finished.



This activity could easily be adapted to meet the development of your child by cutting down the number of “numbers” or even adding more!

What creative uses for pool noodles have you found?

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