- 6-8 hula hoops
- Cassette tape or CD of lively music
- Cassette or CD player
Objective: Children will practice problem-solving skills in an effort to work cooperatively.
In Advance: Place hoops on the floor or on the ground in a large open space.
- Gather children together. Ask them to demonstrate ways they can move and stretch to make their bodies bigger and smaller.
- Put on the music and point out the hula hoops to children. Ask them to pretend the hoops are islands and that they are on a trip. Invite children to begin their travels by walking, hopping, tiptoeing, or skipping around the island hula hoops as the music plays.
- Explain that when the music stops, they must stop their traveling and "visit" one of the islands by placing a foot inside any of the hoops. Make sure everyone knows that more than one child can visit the same island at the same time.
- Turn on the music again and send travelers back on their way, skipping, hopping, or jumping, but this time remove one of the hoops. Encourage children to continue traveling in different ways and routes around the island as the music plays.
- Every time the music stops, have one less hoop available. Challenge children to squeeze closer together and use their ingenuity to find ways for every traveler to fit a foot-or toe-in the fewer and fewer spaces, even when there is only one remaining island!
For younger children: Try using 10 hoops when introducing children to the activity to give them more space and time to become acquainted with the activity.
For older children: After you've enjoyed the activity, encourage children to create pictures and dictate stories about island life.
REMEMBER: Help children work together to find a way to fit everyone on the last island. Children will love it if you play too.
SPIN OFF: Set up a circle of chairs, making sure you have half the number of chairs as you do children in the group. Invite children to find a chair to sit on with a partner. Next, call out an instruction, such as "If you are wearing tie shoes, move over one chair," or "If you had juice with breakfast, move to the chair across the circle from where you're sitting." Let children know that their main goal is to help as many people share the appropriate space as possible.
The Great Big Book of Classroom Songs, Rhymes and Cheers by Ellen Booth Church
I See a Song by Eric Carle
Island Boy by Barbara Cooney