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Pool Noodle Ponies: What to do with Your New Herd

Hurray for summer!  If you are a teacher, it means a slightly slower schedule but many projects.  My summers are filled with professional development, college classes, designing next year's classroom (I'm sure that I'll totally get it perfect riiiiiiiight before I retire.) and working on the projects I just couldn't squeeze in during the school year.   Join me during June and July for Summer Project Sundays.  This series of blog posts will inspire you to get started on a few projects of your own.  
A few years ago I posted  about how to create Pool Noodle Ponies.  Check out that post HERE to learn how to create these adorable creatures!  Last summer I gained an entire herd of noodle ponies.  I had been in a car accident, so I really just supervised their construction.  My fabulous sister in law manned the pony factory and created them.  We decided to use a western themed duct tape to bind them together.  I love how that turned out!

Now that you have created a herd of noodle ponies, what can you do with them?  Here are a few ideas:

1.  This is the Way We Walk Our Horse
You know that song "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"?  It is used as a nursery rhyme reminder of daily chores (Monday=wash the clothes, Tuesday=iron the clothes, Wednesday=mend the clothes, etc...).  You may have learned this version in elementary school.  Check out this link to learn about pioneer living and daily chores.

This song transforms into a perfect pool noodle pony song!  Take a look at a video of some of my Kindergarteners using their ponies with this song.

Fun, right?  This is an adaptation of an activity by the amazing Artie Almeida.  Here are some of the lyrics we use:
1.  This is the way we walk our horse
2.  This is the way we pet our horse
3.  This is the way we trot our horse
4.  This is the way we water our horse
5.  This is the way we jump our horse
6.  This is the way we feed our horse
7.  This is the way we race our horse
8.  This is the way we brush our horse
9.  This is the way we trade our horse (Chaotic but fun!)
10.  This is the way we stable our horse (put horses back in their tub "stable")
2.  Act Out Horse Songs
A couple of my favorite are "10 Little Horses" (think 10 Little Indians) and "Trot Old Joe".
Trot Old Joe
Trot old Joe, trot old Joe,
You ride better than any horse I know.
Trot old Joe, trot old Joe
You're the best horse in the country, oh
Whoa, Joe!
We keep the steady beat on our laps like singing.  Then we change the lyrics so that old Joe can walk, run, jump, skip, dance etc...  After learning this song it is great fun to act it out with the pool noodle ponies.  It's a great way to talk about tempo and it creates a memorable experience for your kiddos.
3.  William Tell's Overture
Who doesn't love this classic?  I've done it with instruments, with movement, with manipulatives and now with noodle ponies.  Create a listening map for this piece (or use the fabulous one in Artie Almeida's "Parachutes, Ribbons and Scarves, Oh My".  On the "A" section, ponies trot in a circle.  Use instruments or other movement during the other sections. 
4.  Wild Donkeys (from Carnival of the Animals)
This quick little piece (called "Wild Asses" in most translations) is perfect for getting the wiggles out with a noodle pony ride.   I have about 8 students line up with their ponies.  Four students on one side of the room and their partner on the other side.  Students switch places with their partner by galloping with their noodle.  They start when the music starts and stop when the music stops.

This activity is usually used with several Carnival of the Animals activities.  Read more about those HERE.  We talk about tempo, but don't really analyze the piece.  I use it more as an opportunity for them to get to hear the piece over and over in an exciting way.  When we go back to listen to the pieces from CofA they really know this one!

Here's a clip from one of my classes:

There are many other ways to use the ponies in your classroom.  If you've used them, I would love to hear about it or see pictures.

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  1. When I taught the quarter note this week, I made a poodle noodle horse named Quarter Note. I wound the end tightly to get an oval and then taped the entire noodle with black duct tape or electrical tape. Each child rode "Quarter Note" to MusicK8's "Quarter Note Song". They loved it! I will be making more of your horses for a Cowboy themed lesson! I was surprised to learn that many of the children didn't know how to ride a stick horse. Many walked or hopped, only a few gallloped. Great large motor skill learning activity for them.

    1. Oh my gosh! I love that idea and what a fun way to use that song too!

  2. With my hobby horses, I use Here We Come on Our Ponies and See the Pony Galloping.

    1. I'll have to look those up. Always looking for new material. Thanks!

  3. Wow what great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. Unfortunately down here in Australia we are not on holidays or in summer (sadly) but reading your blog is still great regardless!
    Cheers - Deb

  4. You have the best ideas! Thank you for sharing. "Macaroni" is another great song with the opportunity to ride a pony. Rather than explain it all in this comment box, you can read about it in my blog post. I've included the song, a lyrics slide, and instructions for activities

  5. I really like the ideas for the Pool Noodle Ponies! I would respectfully ask that you re-think the section "2. Act Out Horse Songs
    A couple of my favorite are "10 Little Horses" (think 10 Little Indians)." Use of the "Ten Little Indians" song unwittingly shapes a new generation to not recognize the objectification of marginalized groups in our nation. For more information, please see: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/social-issues/the-history-of-ten-little-indians/ and http://www.bluecorncomics.com/stype0a7.htm
    Since I'm sure that your great website is read by many teachers, parents, and childcare workers, you are helping raise people's awareness of these concerns. Thank you!

    1. Oh no! Thank you so much comment and your kindness is bringing this issue to light. I appreciate it!