Friday, March 20, 2009

Hula Hooping: Fun for Kids and Adults Alike

I have made many large adult size hula hoops, which make great exercise devices.  I often use them in my kids classes as well. Although they are too large for young children to actually hoop with they are great for many other activities both physical and mental.  

  • Defining a Space: Put the large hoop in the grass and observe the natural world within it. when you look carefully or with a magnifying glass you see so many types of plants, minerals, and insects all within such a small space.  
  • Burn off Some Extra Energy: Have the children roll the hoop down a hill. They make the hoops race or try to aim them at a target. They are big round objects, but not terribly heavy, so young kids can get a great workout and have a blast dragging the hoops back up the hill all by themselves. I often play this game if the kids seem really hyper and I need them to be calm and focused for a craft project. 
  • Make an Obstacle Course: Jump from hoop to hoop, jump through the hoops, toss objects into the hoops, etc...
  • Round and Round: Toddlers like to try to hula hoop, so hold the large hoop for them let them spin around while you spin the hoop around them.
  • Hoop for Entertainment: With some practice, you can get quite proficient at Hula Hooping and learn some impressive tricks, such as 'the lift' or hoop several hoops at once. The large adult size hoops are much easier to do that the small light ones found at toy stores. Don't be shy, give it a try! And put on an entertaining show for the kiddies!

How to Build Your Own Hula Hoop:

All the materials you need can be found at a hardware store and will cost you about $35 and provide enough material to make 9 adult size hoops.

You Need:

  • a PVC pipe cutting tool
  • 1 roll of 1/2" or 3/4" black irrigation tubing
  • 9 matching couplings
  • Colored electrical tape to decorate your hoop
  1. Shape a length of tubing into a circle of your desired size. Waist high is a good custom size, but you can go larger or smaller. Smaller sizes require you to hoop faster giving a more rigorous workout, while larger sizes let you hoop at a slower speed.
  2. Cut the tube with PVC cutter. You can add some beans or sand at this point, if you want the hoop to be waited or make a sound.
  3. Dip ends into boiling water or heat with a hair dryer to soften and make inserting the coupling easier. Inserting the coupling is the hardest part; you want to get the ends of the tubing as close together as possible. Keep heating and easing the ends together little by little.*
  4. Wrap the hoop all up with tape, try to make the color combo appealing and make it as pretty and smooth as possible.
  5. Hoop Away!!!!

*The hoop pictured above is one that I made and it is covered with serged together felted wool sweaters. I made the cloth tube and then pulled it over the irrigation tubing BEFORE inserting the coupling. The ends were stitched together by hand. I'm quite proud of my nifty invention. If you end up using this idea, please leave a comment and send me a picture!

If you are one of those people who have never been able to hula hoop before, fear not, I used to be one of those people before I discovered BIG HOOPS. I didn't get the hang of it right away, but with some practice and proper instruction, I was soon on my way to hooping paradise.

How to Hula Hoop:

Lets see if I can explain this without an actual demonstration. A key thing to know is it is not a round and round movements with the hips. It is more a back and forth shifting of weight to a perfectly even rhythm. Listening to music while hooping, often helps. With big hoops you don't have to start gyrating right away. Hold the hoop with two hands and give it a strong spin around your waist. Stand still and let the hoop fall to the ground. Did you notice how it went around you several times without you even moving? Now repeat that action, but with one foot slightly in front of the other start shifting your weight back in forth to the same rhythm that the hoop is spinning around your torso. Catch it on the second rotation, when the hoop is slightly behind you, then you move forward to catch it, forward and back, forward and back. Good luck and have fun!


  1. OOH! I love this! It reminds me that I have a hula hoop tute of my own to write! My favorite thing to do with a hula hoop is to teach a toddler/preschooler how to ski. I've seen most people using those harness/leash things to teach little ones, and a hula hoop is 100 times better, and safer! I'll see if D and I can take some photos over spring break when we head up to the hills. I'll link to your blogpost! (-:

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