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This obstacle-course style activity focuses on gross motor skills while getting heart rates going and muscles working hard. There are endless combinations for gross motor fun, coordination and agility!

Skills Areas Addressed (See Glossary):

  • Motor control
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Gross motor skills

What You Will Need:

  • Hula hoops, or if you don't have hula hoops, or enough of them, just draw "tires" with chalk on the sidewalk or driveway.

What to Do:

Use the patterns below to lay out the hula hoops (or draw circles with chalk) for this activity. Have your child maneuver through them as directions below indicate.

  • Pattern 1: Jump with feet together but one foot landing in each tire.  Next, try one foot at a time as if running but making sure to hit every tire along the way with either right or left foot.
  • Pattern 2: Jump with two feet together, landing in each hoop.  Then see if your child can try hopping on one foot in each hoop (first with the left foot then with the right).
  • Pattern 3: Try jumping and hopping just like in pattern 2 but in diagonal patterns. Your child can also try leaping from hoop to hoop in this pattern!
  • Pattern 4: This can be done just like classic hopscotch.  One foot, then two feet, then one foot, and then two feet. You could try placing a toy in one of the tires and asking your child to go around that tire before picking it up on his way back — just like the real game!

Hula Hoop Patterns

How to Change it Up:

  • Hula hoops might be too big of a challenge for our littlest friends. Try using circles cut from construction paper or paper places as the "tires" to give kids less distance to travel on their way through the course.
  • Try playing "Red Light, Green Light" during this activity. If they are hopping or jumping, can they stop on command and hold the position for an extra balance challenge.
  • You can do this in any direction (backwards, sideways) and you can always set up two tire courses side by side to make it a race and double the fun!
  • Vary the distances between the hoops for greater challenge.

Safety Note: For children just learning this activity and to improve safety, tape the hula hoops, paper pieces, or paper plates at the bottom to have them stick to the floor.

Explore More Activities Like This!

Explore more activities to promote development in children, and check out our health center for children.

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This content is provided in collaboration with The Inspired Treehouse and has been reviewed by the editorial board.

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