When I was a kid I could hula hoop for hours. I’m not sure what happened as I transitioned into adulthood, but somehow I lost that skill (a new goal of mine is to be able to effortlessly rotate the magic hoop around my waist again). I loved my hula hoop and all the creative and sometimes competitive fun I could have with it.
Now that I have a chance to relive my childhood with my son, I visited a dollar store and stocked up on hula hoops (you could also make your own).
Here are our favourite hula hoop games and activities:
1. Start with the old standby
Spinning the hoop around your waist for as long as you can (you can time your little one and even let them time you if that is something they would find fun). Once mastered, try getting multiple hoops going at once. Or try other body parts like spinning the hoop around your neck, arm, or leg. You can even try to get the hoop spinning around both you and your child at the same time.
Skills developed: coordination, balance
2. Thread the hoop
Pass the hoop from one hand over your head and down your body. This is a great way to work on coordination and mobility. For a more competitive edge, you can make this a race and if you have a lot of kids hanging around it could be a really fun relay race.
Skills developed: coordination, mobility
3. Do it yourself croquet set
Cut some hula hoops in half to create nice big targets for croquet. They can easily stick into soft ground or sand. Any size ball can work. You can even use feet and a soccer ball. The goal is to pass the ball under the hoops and try to get all the way through the course.
Skills developed: kicking, hand/eye coordination, aim
4. Hoop obstacle course
Set up several hula hoops in a variety of shapes or patterns. Kids can run from hoop to hoop or jump in/out of the hoops.
Skills developed: running, jumping, balance
5. Play the dolphin game
My husband loves to play this game with the young athletes he coaches. He used to call it “shark” until a few three-year-olds got scared. Scatter the hula hoops on the ground as they become the islands, a.k.a. the safe zones. The leader of the group calls “time to swim” and all the dolphins run around and try not to get “caught” by the dolphin catcher. They can pause on an island to catch their breath and get away from the “it” person.
Skills developed: running, mobility
6. Learn to skip
A hula hoop is a great way to learn how to skip rope. The hoop is solid and easier to control. Kids will feel more instant success while learning the movement pattern and be able to transfer what they’ve learned to a rope.
Skills developed: skipping, coordination, balance
7. Human ring toss
Does this one really need an explanation? Toss a hoop over a target. Anything can work, including water bottles or the small pylons you may already have in your activity bag. If Mom or Dad are brave enough, they can become the target!
Skills developed: throwing, hand/eye coordination