Hula Hoop Games and Activities

These simple rings offer lots of options for active fun!

Hula hoop games can really inspire kids to be active. You don't need the more expensive, weighted hoops (these are usually marketed for adults to exercise with). The games and activities below work with any kind of hoop. Try experimenting with different hoop sizes with kids. They may actually find they can spin a larger hoop more easily than a smaller one.

The Classic Spin

Hula hoop games - the classic spin
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Getting a hula hoop to spin around your waist can be a good physical challenge! See if your kids can do it. Once they get the hang of it, they can try to spin for longer periods of time, or do other tricks like walking while spinning, shifting the hoop up to their necks and back down, spinning a hoop—or two—on their outstretched arms, standing on one leg while spinning, and so on.

Hula Hoop Pass

This is another classic hula hoop game. You need a group of players. Have everyone stand in a line or circle holding hands. Give the first person the hoop looped over one arm. Players must pass the hoop down the line or around the circle without letting go of one another's hands.

Up, Down, Under, Over

This hula hoop game is also for a group of players. Have three or four kids stand inside a large hoop, holding it up at waist level without using their hands. Challenge them to lift the hoop up to their necks or down to their ankles—hands-free. Or, see if they can get the whole group from inside the hoop to outside, without grabbing the hoop or letting it touch the floor. This is a great team bonding activity!

Hula Hoop Targets

Set hoops on the ground or prop them upright against a wall or tree. Then use for target practice, tossing beanbags, water balloons, foam darts, and so on. Or you can tie a hoop onto a rope and hang it from a playset or tree branch. Make it swing for a much more challenging target!

Roll Along

Back in Colonial times, kids used sticks to roll upright hoops along the ground. See if your kids can do the same, rolling the hoop along the ground with their hands or a stick. How far can they go without the hoop falling down? Once they master this skill, up the challenge by drawing a chalk line for them to follow with the hoop, or adding obstacles (such as small traffic cones, plastic bowling pins, or even lawn chairs) for them to slalom around.


Set a series of hoops in a pattern on the ground for an instant hopscotch hula hoop game, played just like traditional hopscotch. Or use hoops with chalk, pool noodles, and other outdoor toys to create a cool obstacle course.

Also, try arranging hoops on the ground in other patterns, like a tire run. Or have kids circle around a hoop with one foot inside and one out.

Human Ring Toss

Turn a friend into a target in this hula hoop game! Have him put on a bike helmet to protect his head. Mark an X for him to stand on, and then see if you can toss a hoop over his head as you would in a ring toss game. Keep moving back the boundary line to make the game harder. Be sure to take turns being the target and the thrower!

Hula Hoop Home Base

Hula hoops make great home bases for many kinds of tag. Or you can try this two-person hula hoop game: You'll need two hoops and two to four beanbags. Place the hoops about eight feet apart (experiment with this distance depending on the age and skill of the players). Each person gets one or two beanbags. They should both have the same number of bags. Their goal is simply to toss their beanbag(s) into their opponent's hoop—and to keep their opponent's bags out of their own hoop. They can use their hands, feet, or any other part of their body to deflect the incoming beanbags.

Hula Hoop Jump Rope

You can use a hula hoop just like a jump rope, holding it vertically in front of your body and then flipping it down toward your feet, jumping over it and bringing it back behind your body and over your head. I recommend trying this on soft ground first to avoid skinned knees.

Hula Hoop High

Here's a simple, but challenging, activity: Toss a hula hoop straight up in the air and then catch it on the way down. Spectators should steer clear!

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