The hula hoop is a timeless piece of sports equipment in any school P.E. cupboard which can be used for lots of activities for any age group.
Besides the usual spinning around the waist, arms or legs, there are a number of other ways in which teachers can use hula hoops in P.E. lessons. Many of these are great for developing children’s motor skills too!
Here are 6 of our favourite skills you can practice and perfect
- Hop to develop foot control
Line up a number of hoops in a row along the ground, and have your class put two feet together to hop from one to the next.
Keeping their feet together will help develop gross motor skills, and you can make the task more challenging by pitting two teams against each other or by asking children to hop into every other hoop.
Vary the activity by encouraging pupils to hop on just one foot, or to try the course sideways or backwards.
- Throw and catch to improve hand-eye coordination
Throwing a hula hoop up into the air and catching it before it touches the ground requires a lot of concentration and good hand-eye coordination.
If you’ve not got enough hoops to go around, children could pair up and throw to each other. Make sure instructions are clear to throw softly and carefully – precision is key!
Alternatively, set up some targets at the other end of the room or playground, and practice tossing the hoop onto them. This will help develop accuracy, and if you assign points to the targets, they can be used to practice maths too!
- Run a race for speed and agility
Use chairs, cones, or any other PE objects you have lying around to create a mini obstacle course, and see how quickly children can roll a hula hoop around each obstruction.
If you have space to make two identical courses, split the class into teams, and see which group has the fastest speed and best agility!
- Boost flexibility with the step or crawl through
Crawling or stepping through a hula hoop is a good way to encourage flexibility, and always a fun activity which children love to participate in, so why not create a whole class tunnel?
Have everyone line up with a hoop to create one long tunnel. The child at the back hands their hoop to the person in front, and while they pass it down the line, the child crawls through the tunnel. They collect their hoop at the end, and move the tunnel along one place.
- Work together to get into the rabbit hole
This activity requires good teamwork and coordination, as children have to escape from the fox and get down the rabbit hole.
Balance a hoop on top of some cones; this forms the safe rabbit hole. If you’ve got a big class you’ll need a few rabbit holes scattered around the available space.
Designate some pupils to be the foxes. They must chase the remaining children around the room and try to catch them. If the ‘rabbits’ get into a rabbit hole they’re safe, but they need to work together to avoid knocking the hoop off the cones…otherwise they’re out!
- Pass the hoop to combine communication and gross motor skills
Have your class stand either in a circle or in a line, holding hands with those on either side of them. Then place a hula hoop over the arm of the child on the end, (or break the circle and place the hoop with someone.)
The class must work together, combining communication and gross motor skills, to move the hoop up their arm, over their heads, and down the other arm, before passing it across to the next person.
Remember, you’re not allowed to break the chain!
Do you have any more activities to try with a hula hoop? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear them!