Build your physical skills while having fun
Total Time Needed:
30 Minutes or less
The hula hoop may have had its heyday in the 1950s, but thanks to renewed interest from fitness-focused families, hooping is hip again. Fans note that the low-impact sport strengthens core muscles, fosters coordination, and best of all, is fun. To get you started, here are some tips from Beth Morey, a teacher and kids' hooping instructor from Missoula, Montana.
1. Choose the right hoop. Bigger and heavier are better for beginners. A good rule of thumb: when held perpendicular to the ground, the hoop should come up to at least the user's belly button. Also look for a heavier hoop made from 3/4-inch tubing (or make you r own — see our tip below).
2. Find the rhythm. Contrary to popular belief, you don't move your hips in a circle to keep a hoop spinning. It's actually a rocking motion. (A)
3. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and one foot slightly in front of the other. Hold the hoop and practice rocking your hips from front to back. Alternatively, stand with your feet parallel and rock your hips from side to side. (B)
4. Stand with the hoop resting against your lower back and pulled slightly toward the back foot. (C) Rock out: quickly whip the hoop in the direction of your front foot while rocking your hips.
5. Listen to music. Hooping is rhythmic in nature, so playing music with a moderately fast beat can help new hoopers master the movement.
6. Take a break. If your hoop is spending more time around your ankles than your hips, try hand-hooping instead: spin the hoop around your hand horizontally overhead or in a vertical position at your side.
Do it yourself: Hoops are widely available at major retailers and sporting goods stores, but for a durable hoop with a customized fit, try making your own.
First Night Flashlight Limbo
In this lights-out version of a classic party game, the object is to avoid the beam of the flashlight.
What You Need
· 2 flashlights
1. Clear a floor space and turn off the lights.
2. Two kids, each holding a flashlight, stand a few feet apart, turn on the flashlights, and point them at each other to create a level beam of light for the others to limbo under.
Here's an amusing indoor race that challenges kids' balancing skills, penguin style.
What You Need
· Beanbag or Hacky Sack-style footbag
1. Have the children stand side by side with their "eggs" (beanbags or Hacky Sack-style footbags) on top of their feet.