How to Teach Children to Use a Hula Hoop

By Jinnene Foster

That longtime childhood toy, the hula hoop, still thrives today. Teaching children to use a hula hoop also teaches them coordination and mental focus. Become reacquainted with this toy yourself as you help a child learn how to hula hoop.

Learning the hula hoop is about seeing the possibilities

Head outside. In order to truly appreciate a hula hoop, it's best if you can find a time to enjoy the outdoors as well. Select a day that is not windy or rainy, to keep your clothes, and the hula hoop itself, clean.

Place the hula hoop around your body so that it encircles your waist. Instruct the children to press the hoop against their lower backs, while gripping the hoop with both hands on opposite sides of the hoop. Your arms should be extended from your body, as if you want to give someone a hug.

Thrust the hoop either to the left or to the right, and release the hoop from your hands. Gyrate your hips so that the hoop can rotate around your midsection. Keep the hoop spinning around your waist for as long as possible before it touches the ground. Describe your movements to the children so that they can copy them. While you release the hoop, tell them, "Next, release the hoop, and move your hips in circles, like this."

Practice, practice, practice. Hula hooping is not a skill that comes automatically to everyone. If the children are not quick to master the skill of hip hula hooping, show them other ways to enjoy the hoop. The hoop can be spun around the neck. Demonstrate pressing the hoop to the back of your neck, and then releasing and thrusting the hoop to the left or to the right, moving your neck so that the hoop can rotate around it.

Improvise. Other ways to appreciate the hula hoop are by spinning it around wrists or elbows, or even around ankles. Or simply hold the hoop against the ground while other people climb through it. Show the children how the hoop can spin along the ground. They can either run along beside the hoop, or stand and watch it go off on its own.

Tip

Remain positive and patient as you teach the children how to use a hula hoop. Have fun with the process, no matter how long it takes the children to learn the skill.

About the Author

Jinnene Foster has worked as a freelance writer for advertising and personal health outlets since 2007. She teaches college-level writing courses. Foster's articles have appeared on Rollickguides.com and various other websites. Foster holds a Master of Arts in literary journalism from DePaul University.