Exploring hula hoops
Activities for toddlers and babies
Purchasing a few hula hoops can lead to interesting exploration activities with young children. Hula hoops are simple toys that can be used in a variety of different ways. They exist in several different sizes and colors. Their round shape makes them easy to manipulate. Select hula hoops that will work for the activities you wish to present and adapted to the ages of the children in your group.
Introducing hula hoops
Deposit several hula hoops on the floor throughout your daycare. Let babies and toddlers crawl or walk over to them and explore them as they wish.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Hula hoop snacking
Set hula hoops on the floor and invite babies and toddlers to sit inside the circles. Give each child his/her snack. Variation: Set a hula hoop on the table to create an original centrepiece. Deposit children's snacks inside the hula hoop.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
To create an original mobile, hang a hula hoop vertically from the ceiling. Use different lengths of string or ribbon to hang children's artwork or tiny objects from the hula hoop. Feathers, streamers, and small stuffed animals all represent interesting additions.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (taste)
Cheerios cereal pieces look like miniature hula hoops. Offer a small bowl of dry cereal to each child and help them notice this fact.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Young children may not be ready to draw circles on their own. However, you can draw large circles on pieces of paper and encourage children to use them for various crafts.
Cut a circle somewhat bigger than a hula hoop out of heavy paper. Let babies and toddlers color or draw a picture inside in the circle. When they are done, use adhesive tape to set their artwork inside the hula hoop. Attach string or ribbon to the hula hoop to hang their masterpiece from the ceiling. This is a great group project for little ones.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Stuffed animal toss
Invite each child's parents to bring a stuffed animal to daycare. Set a few hula hoops on the floor and show children how they can toss the stuffed animals inside the circles. Of course, babies will have to stand very close to the hula hoops to succeed. They may prefer to simply deposit the stuffed animals inside the circle over and over again. Toddlers will enjoy standing a few feet away and tossing the stuffed animals inside the circles. Variation: Use bean bags or rolled up socks instead of stuffed animals.
Colourful hula hoops
Deposit colourful hula hoops on the floor. Deposit toys of the corresponding color inside each hula hoop. For example, deposit yellow rubber ducks in the centre of a yellow hula hoop. Let babies and toddlers crawl or walk from one hula hoop to the next to explore the objects. Name each color with the children in your group. Variation: Older toddlers will enjoy helping you sort the items by color and depositing them in the correct hula hoops.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Hanging hula hoop
Use stretchy fabric or elastic to hang a hula hoop from the ceiling in your daycare or from a tree in your yard. If you are able to hang it low enough, toddlers will enjoy crawling through it with your help. Variation: You may also simply hold the hula hoop vertically and invite children to crawl through it.
My first obstacle course
Hula hoops are great for introducing young children to obstacle courses. This activity is very simple. As soon as children show an interest in copying the actions of others, set a hula hoop on the floor and jump inside the circle. Children will be eager to do the same. After a while, use two, three, or more hula hoops. Children will enjoy following you from one hula hoop to the next.
Hula hoops outside
Since hula hoops are very light, they can easily be carried out into the yard or to the playground.
Rolling hula hoops
Of course, young children won't be able to make hula hoops roll around vertically. However, if you send them rolling across the floor or yard, they will love running or crawling after them.
Early childhood educator
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