10 Fun Ways to Play With a Hula Hoop

With all the games and toys kids have to choose from, something as simple as a hula hoop might seem a little old school. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Other than your own physical energy, the classic toy doesn't require a power supply. Hula hoops are also inexpensive and straightforward to use (once you get the hang of them).

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and hula hoops are also a fun way to burn calories, strengthen muscles, and improve coordination at any age.

Here are some hula hooping tips and tricks to get you and your kids started.

1

Classic Spin Variations

Hula hoop games - the classic spin
Paul Bradbury / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Grab your hoop and head outside with your kids. Challenge each other to get the hula hoop spinning around your waist and see who can keep it going the longest.

While the trick is one of the basics, it takes practice to master. Once you've got the hang of it, encourage each other to try something fancier: Shift the hoop up and down your neck, or get a pair of hoops and see if you can whirl one on each arm at the same time.

2

Make Targets

If you set your hoops on the ground or prop them upright against a wall or tree, you can use them as targets for beanbags, water balloons, or foam darts.

Want something a little more challenging? Use a rope to hang the hoop from the beam of a playset or a tree branch to create a moving target.

3

Up, Down, Under, Over

If you have a group, give this classic game a go. Have three or four kids stand inside a large hoop that they hold up at waist level without using their hands.

Then, challenge them to wiggle the hoop up their necks or down their ankles (again, no hands). You can also have them try to move as a group from inside the hoop to outside without letting it touch the ground.

4

Roll Along

For centuries, kids have been using sticks to roll upright hoops along the ground. For a modern take on "hoop rolling," have your child see how far they can roll a hoop with a stick or their hand before it falls over.

Once they get the hoop rolling, draw a line with chalk and challenge them to trace the path with the hoop. For an added challenge, put up obstacles (such as small traffic cones, plastic bowling pins, or even lawn chairs) or devise a clever maze for them to navigate.

5

Hoop-Scotch

You'll need several hoops for this game. Lay each hoop on the ground in a pattern your child can hopscotch through. You can also arrange two parallel rows of hoops for kids to race through like a tire run.

6

Home Base for Tag

No matter which version of tag you choose to play, you can use hula hoops as a home base or designated safe zones.

Just make sure everyone agrees on the hoop home base rules (a player can only stand in a hoop for a count of ten, no more than one or two players per hoop at a time, and so on).

7

Ring Toss

Place two hoops about eight feet apart (you might have to adjust the distance depending on players' ages and skills). Give each child one or two beanbags. The goal is to toss their bean bag(s) into their opponent's hoop while at the same time preventing their opponent's bags from landing in their own hoop. They can use their hands, feet, or any other part of their body to deflect the incoming beanbags.

With a little more planning and a safety-first mindset, try the human version:

Have one kid put on a bike helmet and stand still inside a hoop base. The other players can then take turns trying to toss a hula hoop over the human target from a predetermined spot. Each kid can have a turn donning the helmet, and you can make the game more challenging by increasing the distance of the starting point for the toss with each round.

8

Hoop Jump

No jump rope? No problem! Show your kid this neat hooping trick.

Stand with the hoop vertically in front of your body, then flip it down toward your feet. Next, jump over it, bring it back behind you, then over your head and back to where you started.

To avoid skin knees, have your kid try it in the yard on the soft ground first in case they stumble.

9

Pass the Hoop

This hula hoop game is great for picnics, recess, or birthday parties where you have a whole group of attendees.

Have everyone hold hands and stand in a line or circle. To start the game, loop the hoop over a player's arm. From there, the rest of the group must pass the hoop down the line or around the circle without letting go of each other's hands.

10

Up High

It sounds simple, but this trick is harder than it looks.

Have kids take turns tossing a hula hoop straight up in the air with the goal of catching it on the way down. Just remember to put everyone's safety first: Onlookers may want to stand clear while your kids try to master this one.

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