Play Pool Noodle Joust

Jousting was once considered the ultimate demonstration of cunning, strength, and bravery. In this game, it’s all about strategy, balance … and silliness! Young knights defend their backyard kingdom with only pool noodles for protection.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 foam pool noodles of the same size
  • 2 hula hoops (lengths of clothesline or rope will also work)
  • Two sturdy crates or boxes of the same size and shape (optional, for older players)

Get Ready… Get Set…

1. Place 2 hula hoops about 3 feet apart on the ground in the center of the lawn. (If you don’t have hula hoops, create large circles of equal size using clothesline or rope.)

2. Select 2 players to be “knights” and give each a pool noodle.

3. Instruct each knight to stand inside one of the hula hoops.

4. Review the rules before playing:

  • Stay inside the circle at all times.
  • Hold the end of the pool noodle, not the middle.
  • Use the pool noodle to try to knock your competitor off-balance, making them step out of the circle.
  • When one or both feet step out of the circle, the other knight wins that round.
  • Poke or swing the pool noodle only at the other knight’s body from the shoulders down—never their face or head.

Variation for older players: Instead of circles, place two crates or boxes three feet apart, and have players stand atop the boxes.


1. Designate a grown-up or older child as referee.

2. The referee counts “1-2-3.” On “3,” the battle begins!

3. Knights joust using their pool noodles as lances. When a knight steps or falls out of the circle, the other knight is declared the winner of that round.

4. Knights face off for up to 3 rounds. The knight who wins 2 rounds is the winner!

5. Continue the tournament by inviting others to battle the winning knight.

Variation for older players: When a player steps or jumps off their crate onto the ground beside it, the other player is declared the winner of that round.

Want more of a challenge? Require players to hold the noodle with only one hand, with their non-dominant hand, or with one arm held behind their back. Add in a balancing trick, like standing on one leg. Or, make the circle on the ground even smaller, so it’s harder to stay inside!

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