Hula Hoop

Happy Hooping in the Music Room

Several years ago, I was lucky to inherit a classroom set of retired hula hoops from my P.E. teacher. Since then, I have found they are a valuable movement prop to incorporate in many of my lessons. Even if your hips don’t have the ability to twirl that plastic tube around your waist, don’t worry, your students won’t judge! Smiles will abound in these tried and true activities that incorporate hula hoops from my classroom to yours! Happy Hooping!

La Raspa 

Locomotor and Nonlocomotor Movement

Recording: “La Raspa”

Suggested Grade Level: 2-5

The learner will…

  • Identify Rondo Form through movement
  • Differentiate locomotor and nonlocomotor movements.

Directions: One hula hoop per student scattered throughout the movement area. Begin with the hula hoop on the floor while the student stands inside the hoop. While in the hoop students use the inside middle of the hoop as their nonlocomotor movement area. The space in between the hoops is the locomotor movement area. Students practice and discover ways to use locomotor movement throughout the space during the B section. I use the La Raspa recording found on the CD Shenanigans Children’s Dances of Terra Del Zur Volume 1, The Best of Shenanigans’ Dance Music 1980-1990.

A Section:

With hands on hips perform the following with the music:
Jump on R foot, extend L heel forward
Jump on L foot, extend R heel forward
Jump on R foot, extend L heel forward
Clap Clap
(Repeat pattern until next section)

B Section:

Students leave their hoop after the A section and choose a locomotor movement to move around the moving area. When the A section returns they hop into the nearest hula hoop and begin the dance again! 

Surf’s Up!

Learning form with movement

Recording: “Wipeout” – The Safaris

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

The learner will…

  • Identify the pattern/form in a recording.
  • Show their knowledge of form through movement. Students change their movement at the correct time with the recording.
  • Practicing nonlocomotor movement)

Directions: One hula hoop per student scattered throughout the movement area. Begin with hula hoops on the floor while students stand inside their individual hoops. The form of the piece is (nearly) in Rondo form (a little variation on the third “A” section).

A Section

Students pretend their hula hoop is a surfboard. Be sure to have students wax their boards and prepare to hit the waves. Prior to starting the music, discuss with students some popular “surfer” lingo to shout out during the A section. Examples might be “Cowabunga!”, “Surf’s Up!”, “Gnarly Dude!”, etc. During this section, students will “surf” in their hula hoop. Be sure to watch for amazing surfboard nonlocomotor tricks and movement such as surfing on one foot for example.

B Section 

Students hula hoop as normal. For those students who are unable to hula hoop, I have them use that as a “practice time” to try to learn. I typically have a successful hula hooper in the class give us pointers. I have never been able to hula hoop so I show students that I too keep trying to learn.

Book: The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin

Suggested Grade Level: 2-3


  • Book: The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin
  • Recording: A-Tisket A-Tasket by Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald
  • 1 Hula Hoop per student

The learner will…

  • Sing a song to accompany parts of a story.
  • Listen and create movement to a jazz piece.
  • Think – Pair – Share personal hopes and dreams.

Synopsis: “Kameeka is confident that today she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street. But then Mama reminds her that today is their neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday, and Kameeka has a ton of chores to do to get ready for the party they are hosting. Kameeka disappointed to be stuck at home and can only think about the hoopin’ competition. Distracted, Kameeka accidentally ruins Miz Adeline’s birthday cake, and has to confess to her that there won’t be a cake for her special day. But then Miz Adeline’s confesses something too: she’s also got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch! Her fingers start snappin’. Her hips start swingin’. Soon everyone’s hips are swinging as the party spills out onto the street. The whole neighborhood’s got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch! With vibrant illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen is a charming celebration of family and community ties.”


  • Before reading the story, teach the song “The Hula Hoopin’ Itch”.
  • Each time the book mentions “the hula hoop itch” students will sing the song as you read the story.
  • Miss Adeline brings her own music to the party. What type of music did she bring?
    • Miss Adeline brings jazzy blues music to the party and that music makes her nod her head like “spring robin looking for a worm”. What might that look like? I play a recording of A-Tisket A-Tasket by Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald and students bob their heads as they imagine Miss Adeline might have to the music.
    • What type of music might you bring to your own birthday party?
  • Kameeka has a dream to become the Hula Hoop Queen of 139th Street. What dreams or aspirations do you have? Think, Pair, and Share with a partner.
  • End the day with a fun hula hoop party. Play some great jazz music and allow students to hula hoop. 

Check out this resource with a Teacher’s Guide published by Storyline Online.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen read by Oprah Winfrey

Freedom Brass

Freedom Brass currently teaches K-5 Elementary Music in Junction City, KS. She has over 20 years of music teaching experience in elementary and secondary classrooms. Having earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, she is working towards her master’s in Special Education, emphasizing in difficult and challenging behaviors. She received all three Orff Schulwerk Music Certifications from Baker University in Kansas and is an AOSA Certified Movement Instructor of all three levels. Her professional affiliations include being a member of AOSA, the Kansas Orff Chapter, district Elementary Music Team Leader, and a partner of Kansas State University’s student internship program. Freedom was the Geary County District Kansas Teacher of the Year Nominee in 2020. Her professional passions are music advocacy, mentoring new music teachers, building positive relationships with students, and creating an inclusive environment for all learners.

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  1. Desi Brown on November 5, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    Such fun activities!! I can’t wait to use them in my classroom.

  2. Kayden on November 5, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    My kids love these activities. Thanks for the awesome ideas!!

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