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Hula Hoop Games and Activities

These simple rings offer lots of options for active fun!

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Updated June 02, 2014

Hula hoops are an inexpensive toy that can really inspire kids (and adults) to be active. You don't need the weighted hoops marketed for adults to exercise with; these hula hoop games work with any kind of hoop. Experiment with hoop sizes with kids. They may actually find they can spin a larger hoop more easily than a smaller one.

1. The Classic Spin

Children hula hooping in backyard
Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Getting a hula hoop to spin around your waist can be a good physical challenge! See if your kids can do it. Once they get the hang of it, they can try to spin for longer periods of time, or do other tricks like walking while spinning, shifting the hoop up to their necks and back down, spinning a hoop—or two—on their outstretched arms, standing on one leg while spinning, and so on.

2. Hula Hoop Pass

This is another classic hula hoop game. You need a group of players. Have everyone stand in a line or circle holding hands. Give the first person the hoop looped over one arm. Players must pass the hoop down the line or around the circle without letting go of one another's hands.

3. Up, Down, Under, Over

This hula hoop game is also for a group of players. Have three or four kids stand inside a large hoop, holding it up at waist level without using their hands. Challenge them to lift the hoop up to their necks or down to their ankles—hands-free. Or, see if they can get the whole group from inside the hoop to outside, without grabbing the hoop or letting it touch the floor.

4. Target Practice

Set hoops on the ground or prop them against a wall or tree and use as targets for beanbags, water balloons, foam darts, and so on. Or you can tie a hoop onto a rope and hang it from a playset or tree branch. Make it swing for a more challenging target to aim at.

5. Roll Along

Girl rolling hula hoop on ground
Catherine Holecko
Back in Colonial times, kids used sticks to roll upright hoops along the ground. See if your kids can do the same, rolling the hoop along the ground with their hands or a stick. How far can they go without the hoop falling down? Once they master this skill, up the challenge by drawing a chalk line for them to follow with the hoop, or adding obstacles (such as small traffic cones, plastic bowling pins, or even lawn chairs) for them to slalom around.

6. Hoop-scotch

Set a series of hoops in a pattern on the ground for an instant hopscotch hula hoop game. Or use hoops with chalk, pool noodles, and other outdoor toys to create a cool obstacle course.

7. Human Ring Toss

Turn a friend into a target in this hula hoop game! Have him put on a bike helmet to protect his head, mark an X for him to stand on, and then see if you can toss a hoop over his head as you would in a ring toss game. Keep moving back the boundary line to make the game harder. Be sure to take turns being the target and the thrower!

8. Hula Hoop Home Base

Hula hoops make great home bases for many kinds of tag. Or you can try this two-person hula hoop game: You need two hoops and two to four beanbags. Place the hoops about eight feet apart (experiment with this distance depending on the age and skill of the players). Each person gets one or two beanbags. They should both have the same number of bags. Their goal is simply to toss their beanbag(s) into their opponent's hoop—and to keep their opponent's bags out of their own hoop. They can use their hands, feet, or any other part of their body to deflect the incoming beanbags.

9. Hula Hoop Jump Rope

Girl using hula hoop as jump rope
Catherine Holecko
You can use a hula hoop just like a jump rope, holding it vertically in front of your body and then flipping it down toward your feet, jumping over it and bringing it back behind your body and over your head. Try this on soft ground to avoid skinned knees!
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