Moms and Dads share the clever ways they put these popular water toys to work.

kids playing with pool noodles
Credit: Aimee Herring

Bathtime BuddyBy: Veronica Pei; Rockville, Maryland

I have a hard time supporting my baby's head above water with one hand and bathing him with the other; my arm gets tired very easily, and I'm afraid I'll submerge his ears under water. To solve the problem, I cut a pool noodle to fit the width of the tub and place it under his head. Now both of my hands are free to bathe and play with him. (Just make sure you never leave your baby alone in the tub!)

No More Bumps By: Kristie McCrosson; Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

Trying to keep my 1-year-old son, Evan, away from the sharp edges of our marble fireplace was a struggle, so we made our own bumpers with pool noodles cut to the measurements of the hearth. We sliced them down the middle so the pieces would fit snugly on the edges. It works like a charm and cost us only a few dollars.

What Lies Beneath By: Jill Hamilton; Palatine, Illinois

To keep my sons' toys from falling under the couch, I cut pool noodles to the correct length and put them under the edges of the sofa. No more straining to reach small pieces.

Swing Set Soft By: Christa Jackson; Queen Creek, Arizona

I wanted to give my daughter something soft to grasp when the plastic-coated chains on her swing set got brittle, so I threaded them through the center of half of an old pool noodle.

Bump It Up By: Brittney Bray; Belews Creek, North Carolina

I tucked a pool noodle in a fleece blanket and put it under the sheets at the edge of my son's bed to keep him from rolling out. It gives Kooper, who's almost 2, a little "wall bump" of protection, but he can still climb in and out of bed safely and easily.

Padded Play By: Tina Rutledge; Rock Hill, South Carolina

I wrapped foam swim noodles on the wrought-iron base of our coffee table so my 1-year-old daughter won't get hurt. They're easy to attach and provide a cushion from bumps and bruises as she learns to navigate through her little world.

Bath Buffer By: Lea Anne Hicks; Dallas, Texas

I covered the metal sliding door runner on the edge of the tub with a split pool noodle. It protects my daughter's hands from the uncomfortable ridge.

Bed Booster By: Crystal Klinedinst; Friendship, Maryland

When I converted my daughter's crib into a toddler bed I realized there were no rails, so I taped two pool noodles together and positioned them on the side instead. They're just the right height to keep her safely in bed.

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