Did you know that by adding and modeling the use of a variety of equipment and materials to outdoor play spaces, young children can have higher levels of physical activity? Play props, such as hula hoops, balls and wheeled toys can help children get the 120 minutes of physical activity a day that is recommended (NASPE, 2010).
Hula hoops are fun, but may be challenging for young children to use. Try these engaging activities using hula hoops in different ways to develop a feeling of success for your children.
1. Musical Hoops: Boogie around an open area to the music until it stops, then jump into any hula hoop that is on the ground (one per person). Add some extra fun and movement practice by giving a designated movement skill to do inside the hoop before boogie time starts again.
2. Driver’s Seat: Get inside the Hula Hoop with your child. Pretend it is a car. Who will be in front and be the driver and steer as you move around? When your child takes the driver’s seat he is practicing stability. Make it a bit harder by adding some resistance to the child’s pull. What type of car are you driving and where are you going? Use your imagination!
3. Hoop Toss: Create a big target such as milk jug or soda bottle (filled with some sand to weigh it down) and toss the hoop to land around the target. Start close and slowly increase the distance.
4. Get Rolling! Roll hoops across an open area to get children practicing running and catching. Vary the distance to vary the challenge. Increase the fun by rolling more than one hoop at a time and see which one the child decides to catch.
5. Run and Roll: Lay a hula hoop on the ground for one partner to stand inside. The other partner stands beside the hula hoop and rolls the hula hoop across an open space. The partner standing in the hoop runs to catch the hula hoop before it falls to the ground and brings the hula hoop back to its original spot. Partners take turns rolling and running to catch the hoop.
6. Jumping Around: Arrange several hula hoops in a circle on the ground close enough to that they are touching. Each child stands in a hoop, once a signal has been given, each child jumps form one hoop to next in the circle. Give the signal again to stop, turn around and jump the opposite way.
7. Through the Hoop: Form a single file line of several children. Give the first child in the line a hula hoop to hold over their head. Children will pull hula hoop down over their bodies and then give the hoop to the next person in line. Time the activity and see how fast the hula hoop can move through the line.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s play!