Driving with Hoops!

I never tire of sharing games and activities using the very versatile Activity Hoop. In a blog I posted in May of 2010, I gave directions on how to play a non-competitive version of musical chairs using the hoop. This time, we’re going to use our imaginations as we pretend that our Activity Hoop is a steering wheel. Get ready to start your engines!

Car and Driver

Materials and Set Up:

One hoop per child

Available indoor or outdoor space

Let’s Get Started:

1. Children watch and listen as directions of how to play are demonstrated.

2. Each child, standing up, holds the hoop in front of their body. Tell them to imagine that the hoop is the steering wheel of a car and that they are the driver.

3. When children hear the following commands they are to do the corresponding movements as directed:

Green Light = GO (walk and turn hoop like driving)

Yellow Light = MOVE SLOWLY (getting ready to stop)

Red Light = STOP (freeze in place as if at a stop light or stop sign)

School Zone = SKIP

Highway = RUN

Uphill = MARCH

Flat Tire = HOP

Tunnel = DUCK DOWN (bend knees and lower level of body)

Pot Hole = LEAP

Woo-Woo-Woo = MOVE TO THE SIDE AND STOP (emergency vehicle coming)

Furthermore:

• With younger children only use 3 – 4 commands/movements.

• Vary the length of time between the commands.

• Try to “trick” children by repeating commands twice in a row.

• Children may devise other commands and movements.

On the Road Again

Materials and Set Up:

One hoop per child

Available indoor or outdoor space

Music player and music (i.e., Song: Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys or On the Road Again by Willie Nelson)

Let’s Get Started:

1. Instruct the children to put their hoop on the ground and stand inside it.

2. Tell them that the hoop is their steering wheel. When the music starts, they are to lift the hoop up to waist level and use both hands to turn it right and left as if driving while they walk around in the open space.

3. When the music stops, the children stop and drop their hoops to the ground as if they’ve reached a stop sign or stop light.

4. When the music starts again, they bend down and pick up their hoops and continue to drive.

5. Fun ensues when you start and stop the music for short intervals or keep it on for long stretches. Add some dialogue to the game by mentioning that they may be caught speeding if going to fast.

6. The game lasts the length of one song.

Furthermore:

Challenge children with this variation of the game. When the music stops ask the children to pair up. One partner steps inside the hoop and holds it at waist level. The second player steps in front of his partner in the hoop and holds his hoop in front of his body like a steering wheel. Children are to work together and move using both hoops when the music starts. When the music stops, they switch places and get to play opposite roles. This game teaches the children to work together and make cooperative decisions about moving in the same direction. Encourage the partners to come up with other ways to move together using both hoops.

Both of these hoop games promote and develop the following goals or learning outcomes:

• Locomotor transport skills: body moves from one place to another by walking, leaping, hopping, skipping, etc.

Gross motor development: using the large muscles of the arms, legs and trunk to perform movements such as walking, running, marching

• Directionality: the inner sense and knowledge of where things are in relation to the body

Spatial awareness: coordinated movement in relationship to other objects in the environment

Bilateral coordination: using both sides of the body in unison

• Midline: the invisible line running from the head to the toes and dividing the body into right and left halves

• Crossing the midline: means that one hand spontaneously moves to the other side of the body to work there (i.e., turning the hoop like a steering wheel in a large arc)

Listening skills: ability to follow verbal directions

Cooperation: two or more people playing together rather than against one another, just or the fun of it

Agility: quick, easy, lively movements

• Imagery: formation of mental images by memory, imagination or fancy