Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Easy Pool Noodle Nunchucks

This post is part of a fun month-long homemade toy series going on over at the awesome Free Time Frolics. Last year I bought a simple pair of these foam nunchucks at a craft fair for my little guy that was tagging along with Mom that day. I knew they were something I wanted to re-create and only now am I finally doing it (and sharing it with you- seriously easy, fun project)!

Here's the thing (as though it's any kind of newsflash): I'm surrounded by boys! My Mom grew up with my Grandma making my uncle go outside if he wanted to play rough or wrestle. And I grew up (with three sisters and only one brother) pretty much the same- rough play was just not really the way of things. But, that's pretty much not. gonna. happen. around my own house, despite my efforts (sometimes... othertimes I just toss my hands). Like when I make them soft play weapons for the fun of it :P

I think I actually have a belief a fair degree apart from what I knew in my childhood. I want my boys to learn how to keep themselves in control in the process of playing rough. It's hard wired into them it seems to be more wild and firm. I'm not okay with them trying to hurt each other, not at all. But I am okay with them burning their energy for real. Hopefully along the way they figure out how to self-monitor their emotions from extreme to cool. And, when they don't, these end up on top of the fridge for the rest of the day :)

As far as Christmas is concerned, I know my Dad and brother always seemed to get something they could spend the rest of that very day playing with together, like Nerf guns. These would fit the bill really inexpensively for that!

You'll need:
Pool Noodle
3/4" PVC Plugs
1 yard parachute cord (or similar)
sharp knife
match or lighter
super glue 

All of these pieces and parts are really cheap- a couple dollars each at most for the ones you might not already have around the house :)

I started by cutting my pool noodle lengths, each 12" long. If you were to cut them at 10" you could get two sets of nunchucks out of one pool noodle. After I had done all of my cutting, Stephen said that real nunchucks are fitted by measuring the length from your hand to elbow. Then, the cord part is measured using the width of your palm- interesting, eh? So that would be a good way to do it too :)

Then I drilled a hole down through the middle of the PVC plugs- this wasn't difficult at all. I used a 9/64 drill bit (after trying the size just smaller and it not being big enough to get my cord through).

I got this cord at Joann's, but there are lots of places anymore to grab parachute cord like this :) I cut 12" segments for each nunchuck, but this measurement is certainly too long! I've tied knots in the cords at this point to make them better for the boys to use :) A measurement more like 8 or 10 inches is surely better.

You'll need to melt the ends like above to get it threaded through the PVC plug next. I melted them with a BBQ lighter and then waited a few second before shaping the tip into a point with my fingertips- this is really helpful!

Next thread the cord through the plugs and tie knots. I did this backwards the first time around! Make sure to have your knot sticking out the end, not tucked inside the plug. So the first threading picture above here is backwards- you'd need to be tying the opposite end of cord than the one you see there :) I just did a simple double knot and it's held great.

Almost done- these are so fast! I used super glue spread around the base part of the plugs, then tucked them into the hole of the pool noodle. These are really snug even without the super glue, but I didn't trust them to stay with no glue. I could tell most of my glue was being forced to the underside of the rim of the plug when I forced it into the pool noodle, but even so, it's working to hold it in place :)

Ta-Da! Cute, eh? These could be considered done and ready to play with, but I wanted to add a little kick to them, so I added some washi tape to the ends. The orange below is the Scotch Expressions kind- I've been really liking it lately! Sticks to the foam better than the papery kind, though both worked :)

All done- how long will they last around your house?! My boys have really enjoyed these and, while I have had to take them away once, otherwise, they've done really well. These could make a fun addition to a Halloween ninja costume too! Enjoy!



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