Now that warm weather has returned, it’s time to send the children outside. But how long will they ride their bikes or scooters or play ball before they decide, “There’s nothing to do!” It’s also time for spring cleaning. What does one have to do with the other? Maybe nothing—or—maybe you found some hula hoops that were gathering dust. Instead of throwing them in the trash bin or donation pile, teach your children a new game. Or should I say, an old one? Update a game that your grandparents might have played. Have a hoop race.
You will need the following for each player:
1 hula hoop about 28 inches across
1 (18-inch) wooden dowel rod (or any type of round stick about the same length and strength)
Chalk or tape
How to play:
1. While you are standing, practice rolling the hoop using only the stick. Try not to use your hands.
2. Practice rolling the hoop while walking and running.
3. Decide on the rules.
• Will you and your friends go to the finish line and stop, or will you turn around and go back to the starting line?
• If your hoop stops rolling or you lose your stick, do you go back to the starting line, are you “out,” or do you keep going?
• If you are playing with both older and younger children or have special needs children in your group, will you have special rules to make the race fairer? Some ideas for special rules for younger or special needs children may be to give them a special finish line or let them stop at the finish line instead of going back to the starting line. You could also declare winners by age division.
4. When you are ready to begin the race, mark start and finish lines with chalk or tape. Run while rolling the hoop.
5. Have fun!
Don’t have enough hoops to go around? No problem. Here are some ideas:
• Race as Olympic runners and swimmers do: in heats. Divide into teams as evenly as possible and take turns racing. Then have the winners of each heat race against each other.
• Have a relay race, passing the hoop from one racer to another as you are running. Try not to let the hoop stop rolling as you hand it off.
So, the next time you need a new idea for an outdoor activity, try something old instead. Gather those hula hoops that have been gathering dust and have a hoop race!
For more information on hoop games, see my article in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine-digital.com/thehomeschoolmagazine/201304?pg=97#pg97
Karen Robuck is a homeschooling mother of two, an eighth grader and a fifth grader. She holds degrees from Blue Mountain College, a Christian liberal arts college in northeast Mississippi, and from the University of Southern Mississippi. She considers her homeschooling style to be literature-based eclectic with a dash of Charlotte Mason. Formerly a teacher and librarian, she is currently working in media support for a local community college. She lives in Pontotoc, MS with her husband, two children, and a fourteen-year-old cat named Ivan.