According to KidsHealth.org, children who are physically active are more academically motivated, alert and successful. Physical activity also builds self-esteem, strong muscles and bones and better sleep habits. Children need to be provided with age-appropriate activities and equipment that will motivate them to get plenty of physical activity throughout the day. Hula hoops are inexpensive, easy to use and, with a little creativity, can keep a child amused for quite some time.
Have children practice rolling a hula hoop back and forth to each other. Increase the distance between the children to make it more difficult. Then gather all the hoops and roll them around the play area. Encourage the children to chase after the hoops and catch them before the hoops fall. This activity promotes hand-eye coordination through catching as well as running, a powerful aerobic activity that will increase their heart and breathing rates and tucker them out.
Lay one hula hoop on the ground per person, then turn on some upbeat music and have the children dance around the hoops. Once the music stops, each child must jump into a hoop. Once they’re in the hoops, give them another activity, such as hopping, touching their toes or hula hooping. As an extension, every time the music stops, take one hoop away so two children share a hoop and then three children and so on. Eventually everyone needs to squeeze inside the same hoop.
Hang hoops with string from the ceiling, a tree limb or clothesline so that they just touch the ground and are about six inches apart. Have children crawl through the hoop tunnel. Even babies who can only crawl will enjoy this activity. For older children, make the tunnel a part of an obstacle course or set up two tunnels, divide children into two teams and time the teams to see which one is faster.
Hula Hoop Toss
To enhance throwing skills, depth perception and hand-eye coordination, set up a hula hoop toss. Place cones on the ground and give each child a hoop. Encourage the children to toss the hoop around the cones. As children perfect the skill, move them farther away from the cones. As an added challenge, set the cones various distances away and assign each cone a point value, using a sticky note. Give each child three tries to ring a cone with the hoop and have them tally their points. The child with the most points wins the game.