Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Three to five hula hoops
- Optional: If hula hoops are unavailable, you can adapt this game by using carpet squares or mats, or by drawing a circle in chalk on the floor. Be creative, just look for materials that will not slip under the children.
- A CD player with a "pause" button
- Music that is lively and will be fun for the children to move around to
- A bell or other sound instrument
Preparation for Activity
- Move tables and chairs to create as much space as possible for moving around, or plan to bring the group to a larger, open space for this activity.
- Place the three to five hula hoops at least three feet apart from one another.
Description of Activity
Tell the children that when you start the music, they may move or dance or skip around the room wherever they wish. As soon as you stop the music, they must quickly get inside nearest the hula hoop.
Play the music, then stop it. Once the children are all inside hula hoops, start the music again. While children are moving and dancing, take one of the hula hoops away. Stop the music. Tell the children that now they must all get inside the remaining hula hoops as quickly and carefully as possible.
Continue until you have only two hula hoops left in the center of the room. Before you start the music again, tell the children:
Next time the music stops, you must carefully and cooperatively all fit inside the one hula hoop that will be left. You will have to fit so everyone's feet are inside the hula hoop. It may be difficult to do. While you are working on it, listen for this sound (demonstrate the bell or other instrument). When you hear it, freeze.
Play the music one last time, then stop it. Watch as the children try to fit inside the remaining hula hoop. At any time, you may use the bell or other sound instrument to freeze the action and ask the children to look at where they are. Guide them to talk from a still position about how to accomplish their goal. If there are too many children to accomplish this, you may tell them that as long as at least one of each child's feet is inside, they will have succeeded. If there are only a few children, you can make it more challenging by asking them to pick up the hula hoop and move around in it, together.
The goal of this activity is to give the children a chance to work cooperatively and creatively at a task in which they all must be included. It is also to give them an opportunity to move their whole bodies, and to have fun.
Including All Participants
If any children cannot move freely, the group can find a way to include those persons in the final circle. If a child does not feel comfortable participating in the movement, give them the job of starting and stopping the music or invite the child to give suggestions as how to everyone could join the circle.
Some children may dislike being in the center of a group where children are all pushing, moving and talking at once. Before you start the third go-round, suggest that anyone who is not comfortable in the middle of a crowded situation could stay to the outside of the hoop, and that if anyone feels uncomfortable at anytime they can yell "stop" and everyone will freeze so that they can get out.