The Growth and Giggles Blog
Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.
Making and Using HOOPS: Part 2
How to Use a Hoop:
- Place the hoop on the floor, one for each person (including parents), and take turns telling each other how many body parts to put into your hoop. Be creative: elbow and knee, bottom and two hands, etc….any two body parts. This aids in learning inside/outside and number of parts. (Parents/grandparents: only do what you can safely do. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor.)
- Kukla is a Turkish game most commonly played by making an O in the dirt and piling up rocks in the center. This can also be played indoors with a hoop and homemade bowling pins or a pile of blocks inside the hoop. Once the pile is set, use bean bags or rolled up socks (socks are one of the safest indoor balls) to throw and knock it down. If anything is knocked down, everyone yells in unison “Kukla!” We celebrate any success, even a slight movement: “Look it moved. You almost got it! Let’s see if you can knock one down this time.”
- Do the Hokey Pokey.
- Put the larger hoop on the floor and have the child walk on the hoop around and around (building balance and coordination).
- With the larger hoop on the floor, have an older child (4 years old and above) jump in and out of the hoop, zig-zagging their way around it. Have a younger child jump forward and backward, in and out of the hoop.
- Place a hoop or rope circle on the ground as a target for bean bags or socks. If more than one age if playing, make masking tape lines on the floor to vary distances nearer or farther according to age. The goal is to start everyone close enough to have success, then move further away and keep moving it farther as long as they’re interested. This helps children learn to cheer and encourage each other (as they see their parents modeling this during the game).
- Use the hoops as spots in a pattern for the children to jump (large hoops about 2 feet apart) or hop (small hoops about 1 foot apart) in, making their feet land inside the circles. Put the hoops into a big circle and have the children jump/hop from one to the next (starting them with enough space so they don’t bump into each other). Playing music could be stopped for them to freeze and balance and then started again for them to move on. This could be used with animal walking (bear, crab, elephant, etc.) from hoop to hoop. Anything that puts weight on the hands will strengthen those muscles.
- Put the hoop over your wrist and hold hands with your child. Shake hands inside the hoop. When you start shaking, the hoop moves. Try to get it to go from your wrist to theirs and back again. This is a safe way to spin a hoop inside. This is a first step for a child learning to twirl a hoop on their own!
- Ring toss game: Drive a stick or pole into the ground outside to catch the ring/hoop when you toss it. Hold arms straight out with elbows at 90 degrees (beware of hitting your face with the hoop!).
- “My Own Space”: Using a hoop in this way is a wonderful technique to use when someone needs their own space. If a child is building something and other children (younger siblings, for example) keep knocking it down, this can provide a way that the others are visibly not allowed to enter that area. This will not work with infants, but a try could be used in that instance - something that can be moved easily.
What do children learn from these hoop activities?
- Knowing where their body is in space (proprioception)
- Following directions...in a fun way
- Vocabulary building with words like: inside, outside, on, in, out
Remember: some children come into the world with raw talent and some don’t. Try not to compare your children to others.
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