Starfish Therapies

May 30, 2014

Favorite Summer Toy: Hula Hoops (Blog Hop and Giveaway)

Filed under: Developmental Milestones — Starfish Therapies @ 12:41 pm
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The Inspired Treehouse  –  OT Cafe  –  Golden Reflections Blog  –  Pink Oatmeal  –  Therapy Fun Zone  –  Your Therapy Source  –  Mama OT  –  Starfish Therapies  –  Playing With Words 365  –  Playapy

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Hula hoops are a great summer time (or anytime) toy.  Now don’t automatically assume it means you need to know how to ‘hula hoop’ in order to play with them.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at ‘hula hooping’ however there are a ton of other ways to have fun with them.

Hula Hoop Paths

Movement Through Space – If you get a few hula hoops you can line them up in a row and you can practice locomotor skills through them.  Start simple by having kids walk through each one.  Next can be running through them.  Add in some jumping and hopping as well.  To get more complicated you can create movement patterns similar to hopscotch where they have to jump in one then hop in the next one or skip hoops as they run through them.  You can also do side stepping and leaping.  I like this activity because it works on movement through space with the child being aware of their path.  They also have to coordinate their movements while remembering a pattern/instructions.  If you have enough hoops and kids, you can even make it into a relay race!

Visual Motor – Hula Hoops also make great targets.  You can set them on the ground and use it as a visual for bouncing a ball in.  This could be done by yourself with dribbling skills, or using a tennis ball to practice bouncing and catching.  It can also be used with a partner for bounce passes and having to bounce the ball in the hoop before your partner gets it and bounces it back.  You can keep score for how many times you each get it in the hoop!  Also, you can use it as a throwing target.  If you have a tree you can hang it from a branch and practice throwing balls through it or being really tricky and getting a frisbee through it (my frisbee skills are about as advanced as my hula hoop skills)!  If you don’t have a tree you could prop it up against a support or leave it flat on the ground and try to throw or toss an object into or through it.  If you are leaving it on the ground you could use chalk and add rings inside of it and try to toss bean bags in.  Each chalk circle could have a set number of points and you could see how many points you get (similar to darts or ski ball).

Body Awareness – Some other fun ideas to use a hula hoop for are as a jump rope and as an actual hula hoop.  For jump roping (yes, even adults can still do it – I tried it today) you hold onto one edge of the hula hoop and swing rotate it so it swings over your head and then you jump through as it comes back down to your feet.  Similar to a jump rope you have to be aware of where your body is as well as rhythm and coordination but with the hula hoop its a closed loop so you have to know where your head is as well as your feet.  For actual hula hooping (is that even a word?) you can do the traditional version around your waist/hips but you can also experiment with other body parts such as arms, legs and even your neck.  It allows kids to know where the parts of their body are and focus on how they are moving and controlling that one area such that it is isolated to get the movement they want.  What’s great about the hula hoop is they are getting immediate feedback.

Some other fun ideas:

  • Team work activities where you have two or more people in the hula hoop and they have to move across space together (similar to a three legged race).  You can make the trek as complicated or simple as you want.  To add to the difficulty level you can blindfold all but one of the people so they really have to work as a team.
  • Hula hoop rolling.  You can place the hula hoop on its edge and see how far you can roll it, or who can roll it the furthest.  You can also draw chalk lines and try to keep it rolling on the line for as long as possible.
  • Extra large ring toss is always fun.  If you have stumps or other outdoor items that work well as a post you can try to use the hula hoop as a ring to get around it.

What are some of your favorite activities with a hula hoop?

Check out some other favorite summer time toys from these terrific bloggers and enter the rafflecopter drawing for a chance to win! 

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39 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the ideas! We love using our hula hoop to pull our boys around on the scooter board!

    Comment by Michelle Prichard — May 30, 2014 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  2. Great ideas once again. Going off of my post if you don’t have hula hoops just draw circles with sidewalk chalk! haha!
    Here are 3 group games to play with hula hoops as well – http://yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2012/08/20/3-simple-group-games-with-a-hula-hoop/

    Comment by Margaret@YTherapySource — May 30, 2014 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  3. Could be adapted for SLP activities like following directions or practicing prepositions.

    Comment by Chris — May 30, 2014 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  4. My daughter loves trying to roll the hula hoop! They’re also great for obstacle courses to jump in!🙂

    Comment by Emma @ P is for Preschooler — May 30, 2014 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  5. Love the ideas! I will try them with my little one.

    Comment by elyssa donarski — May 30, 2014 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  6. I used to love to “jump rope” with my hoop. Love the idea of using it as a target!

    Comment by Melissa D — May 30, 2014 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  7. My mom is a retired PE teacher, so she has given me lots of ideas and materials for my speech therapy room. I have hula hoops and have used them with bean bags as a toss kind of game.

    Comment by The Dabbling Speechie — May 30, 2014 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

  8. We also “jump rope” with our hula hoop. So glad to have more ideas to try now. Thanks

    Comment by Kim — May 30, 2014 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for the ideas. I’ve never used hula hoops for therapy.

    Comment by Jen K — May 30, 2014 @ 9:58 pm | Reply

  10. I might have to get a hula hoop this summer :)c

    Comment by Carrie — May 30, 2014 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  11. I love all the ideas shared. I have used hula hoops as boundaries for the kids to sit or stand in when standing in line or listening to directions. It works great for kids who need a little help with the concept of “personal space”.

    Comment by Lori — May 30, 2014 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  12. I love hula hoops! My kids love using them for a ring toss.

    Comment by Ashley W — May 30, 2014 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

  13. My kiddos like rolling them to each other. Great for eye/hand coordination, too!

    Comment by Laurie G. — May 31, 2014 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  14. We will be jumping with our hula hoop….that rope simply wasn’t working for us. Thank you!

    Comment by Crystal Dawn — May 31, 2014 @ 12:43 am | Reply

  15. Such fun ideas! I work with preschoolers and think they would love some new ideas!

    Comment by Jennifer — May 31, 2014 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  16. YOu have inspired me with your hula hoop activities! Thanks!

    Comment by Betty — May 31, 2014 @ 1:53 am | Reply

  17. Love hula hoops!

    Comment by Stephanie K — May 31, 2014 @ 2:56 am | Reply

  18. Oh the extra large ring toss sounds so fun!!! We dont have a stump..but I am going to find something we can use! We love to do the Hula hoop rolling!

    Comment by Laurajj Jacobson — May 31, 2014 @ 5:37 am | Reply

  19. Such great ideas on here. I really enjoyed hola hooping as a child. I am looking forward to incorporating these ideas into my therapy sessions.

    Comment by Kristie — June 1, 2014 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  20. Hula hoops are a great toy for promoting body awareness and they are fun too!

    Comment by Natalie — June 2, 2014 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

  21. I have seen where people have used hula hoops for weaving with children. Could be a great way to work on motor control (?) as well as following directions and learning about/using patterns.

    Comment by Anna H — June 2, 2014 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  22. Great for exercise and tossing! We try to “catch” a teddy bear in the hoop!

    Comment by Jaclyn Reynolds — June 2, 2014 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  23. My kids love hula- “loops!”

    Comment by Michelle — June 2, 2014 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  24. Oh the memories of the Hula Hoop that and Jacks i loved to play Jacks also

    Comment by ddjk2011 — June 3, 2014 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  25. To be honest, I JUST tried to hula hoop on Sunday and I can’t anymore. How awful! My son gave it a try and looked like he was break dancing inside of it. Maybe hula hooping is not in our DNA😉

    Comment by Becca Wilson (@xxbeccabaybeex3) — June 3, 2014 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  26. I have a lot o nostalgic memories of playing with hula hoops by spinning them on my arms (it was a lot easier than doing it around my hips).

    Comment by Melissa — June 3, 2014 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

  27. As a kid I love hula hoops, I now see less kids using them. The good old days. My daughter will get introduced to one very soon.

    Comment by Taylor Closet — June 4, 2014 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  28. Love to have some new ideas with hula hoops.

    Comment by LIz Riendeau — June 4, 2014 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  29. Thanks for the new ideas to try when boredom sets in!

    Comment by Melissa Mazzur — June 4, 2014 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  30. My first thought is, how am I going to get all those hula hoops, then I read the comment to just use sidewalk chalk and draw the circles, great idea!

    Comment by Anne Ypma — June 5, 2014 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  31. We have so many hula hoops, and accessories…we have light-up ones, and fire ones…

    Comment by barbara Adams — June 5, 2014 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  32. love these ideas! we have some hula hoops in the garage from a prior event and i never thought to use them with my little one! now i’m so excited…

    Comment by Acey — June 5, 2014 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  33. My daughter loves the hula hoops at our YMCA toddler time. Great extension activities here!

    Comment by Adrienne Murray — June 5, 2014 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  34. Great ideas! I’ll have to bookmark this page for next summer when my little ones are a little older🙂 My 2YO just learned to jump and I know she would probably like having a target to go to!

    Comment by lily — June 5, 2014 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  35. My boys love playing with the hoops at Gymboree, but this post makes me want to buy some for home now! What great ideas!

    Comment by Kristin Gideon — June 6, 2014 @ 1:56 am | Reply

  36. My favorite summer activity is going to the beach.

    Comment by Thomas Murphy — June 6, 2014 @ 2:26 am | Reply


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