10 ways to use Hula Hoops in drama teaching

girl with a pink hula hoop

10 ways to use Hula Hoops in drama teaching

Are you looking for ways for your students to use hula hoops? These activities are great for both drama classes and as part of a teacher's classroom programme.

Theatre Sports
Game: Many Uses of an Object
Think outside the square what could the hula hoop be? Is it a giant coin, steering wheel, board game counter or the sun? 

Pass the hoop around the circle and challenge imaginations.

This game can be mimed - students love to watch and guess.

I encourage students to add dialogue to support their action – Eg: Steering wheel - let’s turn left here and then another right!

Role  Play
Use your hula hoop as a car, spaceship or a horse and set off on your adventure!

Create a story sequence, which the students mime or act out. Great way to develop narrative story structure.

Movement/Effective Communication /Eye Contact
Scatter the hoops around the room.

Students move around the room any way you choose, such as different speeds, or animals.

When you call stop (or stop the music), find a hoop and share with your partner a  topic given by the teacher. Eg: What is your favourite ice-cream and why.

Then continue moving around the room and repeat.

Improvised Story Telling

Inside a hoop have a range of different objects like, a pencil, hat, ball, wand etc.

One student starts a story (theme may be given such as ‘the day at the beach’).

When a bell (or other sound is made), the student speaking must finish their sentence.

The next student in the group must choose an object from inside the hoop and somehow add it into their turn of the story telling.

Team Building / Problem Solving
Game: Pass the Hoop
Stand in a circle holding hands.

The hoop must pass around the circle without breaking the link.

You can have a race between groups or time the challenge.

Group size can be variable to suit.

Team Building /Concentration
Game: Hula Hoop Choir
In groups of 5-10 choose a conductor and a simple song /nursery rhyme such as ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’.

If the conductor is in the hoop the choir sings. If the conductor jumps out the choir must stop.

To challenge add in additional hoops. An extra hoop could be clapping, stomping etc. The conductor can then keep the choir on their toes by moving in and out of different hoops.

For younger students you could make visuals to go with the hoops to help them remember what each hoop is for.                                                                       
Team Building /Gross Motor Skills
Game: Rabbit Hole
Place a hula hoop on top of some cones.
The aim is to see how many students can fit inside the hoop.
Explain that the students ( rabbits) need to go back to their rabbit hole before the hungry fox finds them!

Students need to carefully climb into the hole without knocking the hula hoop.

Once the coast is clear and the fox has headed off to the river for a swim, the students can carefully climb out of the hole.

Alternatives include, jumping in and out, team challenges – which group can climb in the quickest, crawl into the rabbit hole  (going under the hoop) or play a game of tag - the fox chases children back to the holes – but if a child knocks over the hoop they join the fox etc.

Hula Hoop Stepping Stones

Great for little ones. Students can bounce, hop, skip, tiptoe into and over a series of hoops.

Try going sideways or in reverse. Pretend you are a frog bouncing over the lily pads or a busy kangaroo looking for some dinner. The possibilities are endless!

Hula Stations

Have a series of hoops set up in a circle.

In partners (or small groups) move around each station carrying out the task written on a card in the hoop.

Activities could relate to anything you are working on.  For example: create a group improvisation, turn the rolled up newspaper into three interesting props.

Teachers to support your writing programme, it could act as a writing brainstormer, characters, setting, plot etc…

At the last hoop, groups can share their work/performance

Team building – problem solving social skills
Game: Crossing the  River
You may need a few hoops for this depending on your group size.

Use rope or masking tape to indicate land on either side of the room.

Explain that the between the rope, is a river containing very hungry crocodiles. The challenge is for your group (4-6 students) to cross over using the two hoops provided.

If you step out of the hoop, you need to start again.

First team safely across the river is the winner !

Hula hoops provide lots of creative scope in your teaching programme and are a great tool for building spatial awareness. They can also be used for (particularly outdoors):
  • Climbing through
  • Rolling and chasing
  • Throwing and catching
  • Stepping on and flipping up
  • Spinning on arms
  • Jumping into and out of
  • Walking, hopping, skipping etc around the hoop (walk around hoop with one foot in the hoop and one foot out)
  • Throwing items into like bean bags or balls
All these are great gross motor skill development ideas. And teachers, when class is dismissed you can hula as you complete your work! It’s a win win!

Happy hula-ing!

Creative Commons image used courtesy cherrysweetdeal on Flickr.