STEAM : How to make moving noodle robots

These DIY robots are hours of fun!

School starts back up for me at the very end of August but today, my youngest grandson, age 21/2, and I decided to spend a little time over in the classroom.  I have piles of odds and ends stashed around the classroom that I have collected to use for when school starts back up. One of my collections includes the materials needed to make noodle robots that really do move…

To make a moving noodle robot you will need to collect a few items but first, I want to mention that I am planning to make a set to keep in the classroom so our children can explore the materials in different ways through out the school year.

Materials Needed

To make one noodle robot, I used….

  • 1 swimming noodle (cut down to size)
  • 1 AA battery
  • 1 battery operated toothbrush purchased at the Dollar Tree
  • Duct Tape
  • Stickers or markers to decorate your robot however you (or your students) wish.

What to do

The ONLY kind of battery operated toothbrush that I found that works for this is to buy the cheap kid’s $1.00 battery operated toothbrush from the Dollar Tree.

I opened the toothbrush and removed the entire battery case out of the toothbrush.  I saved the toothbrush for a different use in the classroom later on.

I placed one battery inside the battery case and made sure it is working properly by switching the power on. Be sure to keep the battery in place by covering the entire battery (case and all) with duct tape…

I wrapped the case with about two layers of tape so it would fit snuggly (not tight) into the noodle robot…

Adding a Personal Touch

Go ahead and decorate the noodle with stickers or markers.  One long noodle should be cut down into smaller sizes using a sharp knife. You will want the noodles to be just shorter than the length of the battery case. I made mine look like a robot by using some stickers my grandsons had gotten in their kids-meals at Chic-fil-a. After the noodle is decorated or designed to look the way you (or your students) wish, then just place the battery pack inside the center of the noodle and turn it on…

Exploring the Robot

And now the fun really begins. At least this is where it did for my grandson and I.  My grandson spent the longest time exploring the moving noodle robot.  He began by just learning how to turn the power on and off. Click-click, click-click, buzz-buzz! He did this over and over again and set it on the table on occasion to watch the noodle robot move across the table. As he adjust the battery around, the noodle robot would spin or move differently…

Then my grandson also wanted to take a closer look at the battery pack. He asked if he could take it out and I said “Of Course!”  That’s another reason I covered the pack with layers of duct tape…

Why we Love the DIY Robot

My grandson spent the longest time deconstructing and constructing the noodle robot, turning the power on and off, and then letting the robot roam across different surfaces around the room just to see what would happen. He LOVED it and so did I! It was so cool watching my grandson be able to explore the mechanics or workings of the robot all by himself…

Watch the fun in Action!

I put together this short video of the noodle robot in action!

Available on Amazon

By |2018-12-27T16:41:54+00:00July 21st, 2015|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Susie Sporre July 21, 2015 at 11:18 am - Reply

    I just discovered your website through Karen cox on Twitter. I love what you are doing and I’m getting so many new ideas! I have been teaching early education for over 31 years and you are inspiring me with new ideas. We are in complete sink with philosophy! I’m wanting to make you name books and I’m wondering where you found the pages for with lines for prek!

  2. Scott July 21, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I love this! Such a fun and simple idea. And he looks like he’s having the best time with it.

    Now I’m wondering if we dip the bottom of the robot in paint and turn it on…..

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Some folks tape haunt brushes or crayons around the outside edge of the noodle:)

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        Paint brushes! Ha!

      • Renee Bloomquist July 21, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        I went and bought a toothbrush today, the last one our store had. At first it didn’t work but then, much to my 8 year old’s delight, it danced all around the table! My son is so excited to share it with his friends. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Gretchen July 21, 2015 at 11:36 am - Reply

    So creative! I have missed your email posts! Good to hear from you again!

  4. Amy Cain July 21, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Debbie, I love this idea! I have just moved from teaching 3 and 4yr olds to a classroom of 2yr olds. I am looking for fun things they can do, so this seems right up their alley. Thanks for posting this. Could you please add my email address to your list. I was forwarded this by Linda O’Connell, whom I taught with for 22 years. Thanks!

  5. Cathy S July 21, 2015 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Made one of these today! The pool noodle I found had a larger hole than yours, so I was able to put the base back on. I still had to add something else to make it fit the noodle hole, so I put a large rubber band on each end of the base before I put it in my robot. I think my granddaughters will have a blast with these!

  6. LaQuetha July 24, 2015 at 6:22 am - Reply

    This is such a fun idea. I can’t wait to try it out in the classroom. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Archana Jiwnani July 24, 2015 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this activity Deborah. So lovely to see a post again. I have missed your blog. It is very inspiring!

    Thanks for connecting with us on Instagram @happyheartkid . Hope your summer has been going well. Looking forward to all your lovely classroom photos.

  8. Kate - An Everyday Story July 24, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    So simple but so incredibly engaging! All that wonder in his eyes – you really can see him trying to work out how the robot is working. It’s just wonderful. I think even though my kids are much older, they would really enjoy making a little robot.

  9. Melanie Bowers Wilkerson July 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to add this to my robot unit next month! Thanks … now to find similar stickers LOL Thanks for sharing!

  10. loretta August 5, 2015 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Now the dollar store will be running out if these things. I never thought to use just a battery pack for thing what if I put this in a empty bean bag ? Or a recycled plastic juice canister chip can etc? I can not wait to get shopping thanks.

  11. Nolan August 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Dear Deborah,

    I am interested in writing guest post on your blog. I own a company called KidCareScout – a marketplace for busy working parents of preschool children to find educational resources and child care services and also for creative parents and preschool teachers to sell original educational kits, downloads, games and activities. All products are sold through local child care centers to the parents of the children attending the center. Each child care center recommends and promotes products to the parents in the program to ensure materials are age appropriate and complement the curriculum of the child care program. A portion of each sale is paid as a commission to the preschool teacher who facilitates the sale. All educational resources are shipped to and distributed by the child care program. To find out more please feel free to visit us on

    I am looking forward working with you.


  12. Emma August 13, 2015 at 6:12 am - Reply

    What a great idea! We have lots of pieces of chopped up noodles around, my two would love to make some of these.

  13. Kate - An Everyday Story August 14, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I just saw some really cheap – and not too quality looking – electric toothbrushes at the store yesterday and wondered if I could use them for anything (isn’t it funny how our teacher minds are always thinking about how we can use something other than the way it is intended 😉 )

    Well now I can go back and get some for some robots!! How fabulous are they?! And I love the idea of trying out paint and crayons and things too.

  14. mary freiberg August 16, 2015 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Thank you for discovery bottle idea from a few months ago! I have been working on a few over the summer for the fall. I am wondering where you find small objects…mine are still too big! Any advice would be great!

  15. Amy @ Magic Moments Preschool August 20, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Incredible clever and adorable. Thanks for sharing and I loved all the pictures. I seriously never would have come up with this and kids love this kind of thing.

  16. Naomi August 21, 2015 at 12:58 am - Reply

    We made these robots at a craft program I lead at the Redwood City Public Library. They were a HUGE hit! Thank you so much for sharing the idea.

  17. Valerie at Inner Child Fun August 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I LOVE this so much!!! Can’t wait to try it – thanks for sharing! <3

  18. Amy @ Magic Moments Preschool August 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Sooo cute. I seriously love this idea and thing the supplies are genius. Thanks for sharing. We will be trying this and I know the kids will love it.

  19. Children Of America September 1, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    WOW! This is such an adorable idea! And it looks like your Grandson had a blast. I think this is a great project for my classroom at Children Of America
    Michelle 🙂

  20. dave September 15, 2015 at 2:44 am - Reply

    very creative 🙂 kids will never be bored again x)

    Playgroup Singapore

  21. Ailbhe September 15, 2015 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    I know you get millions of emails if you get a sec I sent you a direct message on Instagram it’ll Ber from @sparkle.brite as that’s my user name on Instagram. Looking forward to hearing from you have a wonderful magical day, Sparkle Bright x Ailbhe x

  22. Rebecca February 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    any idea of where else to find these toothbrushes? We are doing and robot unit next week and I thought this was such a fun idea! But the Dollar Store brand I got was Assured and they are different than the GB ones you used. They dont have GB now.


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 18, 2017 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Rebecca – I found these at the Dollar Tree last year. I haven’t tried looking for them elsewhere since I already have a set. If I happen to notice any while out this weekend, I will hop back out and update the comment here!

  23. Ellie April 28, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    I love this! We are doing to do it for a VBS craft/science project. Do you remember where you got the stickers?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Ellie,
      These were stickers that came in a Kids Meal but I saved them for the robots. It was such a long time ago. But you can use other kinds of stickers or let the children draw their own faces and buttons with permanent markers on the robots.

  24. Laura June 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Where did you find the stickers you used on this awesome project?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 11, 2017 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      They actually came in some kind of kids meal but I saved them and used them for this. But I think you can find something similar on Amazon.

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