This activity engages participants with a hands-on crafting activity where they create their own hula hoop and at the same time use some math skills, like measurement and figuring out the circumference of a circle. They then get to decorate it to match their personal style and then use it for some active fun!
- ½ in black polyethylene (plastic) irrigation tubing
- ½ in tubing connector
- Tube cutter
- Measuring tape
- Pot of boiling water
- Black electrical tape
- Decorative or coloured duct tape
Most kids (and adults) have tried hula hooping before and know that whenever they’ve tried, the hoop would only spin once or twice before falling to the ground. That’s because the material used for those hoops are so light that they are impossible to keep up. Instead, try making your own hula hoop with quality and affordable materials from your local hardware store.
- With the child standing straight, measure the distance from the floor to his/her belly button; this will be the diameter of the hoop.
- Now is an excellent for the child to learn a bit of math. In order to figure out the length of tubing needed, you will need to solve the following question: C = 2 π r
OR circumference of circle = 2 x pi x (diameter/2)
OR length of tubing = 2 x 3.14 x half of the floor-to-belly distance
- After figuring out the length of required tubing, measure out that length and use the tube cutters to cut the tubing.
- Gently work the length of tubing into a circular shape. Grab the tubing with both hands and slightly bend the tubing if there are any straight parts. Be slow and gentle in order to avoid sharp bending and to achieve the roundest shape possible.
- Because cooled plastic is really rigid, we will need to soften it in order to smoothly insert the connector. Bring a pot of water to a boil and then remove it from the heat. Dip one end of tubing into the hot water for a few seconds, remove it, and insert the connector half way. Dip the other end in the hot water, remove it, and insert the connector the rest of the way. You should now have an enclosed circle. Alternatively, you could use a hair dryer.
- Dry off any water on the hoop, and then secure the connection with the black electrical tape, wrapping around 3 or 4 times.
- Use the duct tape to decorate the hoop. Try wrapping in spirals or stripes.
- Try it out! Spin it on your waist or your arm, or jump through it like a jump rope.
- Check out the internet for some cool tricks, like this YouTube channel for kid-friendly hooping
- The smaller or lighter the hoop, the faster it will spin. The larger or heavier, the slower, which tends to be easier for beginners or struggling hoopers and encourages moderate physical activity.
- Ensure the utmost supervision around the boiling water and tubing cutters.
Consider checking out some of the other 150 Days of Programming activities and encourage your participants to use their own hula hoops in one of those!