Today I spent the day exploring the use of hoops in my Gymnastics Lessons. Having enjoyed a workshop at the British Gymnastics Conference last year I felt inspired by the ideas they had given us and decided to give it a go.

The first thing I did was scatter the hoops all around the floor using different coloured hoops of various sizes. I then invented a game (that came from that special place that all coaches/teachers that work with children seem to have in their brains) where the children ran around and I shouted a colour and a body part and the children then had to find a hoop of that colour and place the body part in the hoop  The children seemed to love it and we covered all the typical body parts. I also threw in a few that kept them interested that weren’t so typical – noses, tummies and balancing on just bottoms! I tried this on different ages too and added in co-operation tasks so had just two hoops of a certain colour and they all had to get a toe in and find space for each other. I requested two people in the same hoop both balancing on one foot and then three children etc. It went really well and the game was really versatile for all ages.

Upon finishing the game we had a ‘play’ with the hoops – they are children after all! I let the children develop their own ideas having given them a few of my own. We then shared lots of peoples ideas, I picked out the best ideas and developed them to include more gymnastics skills. Before I knew it we had ideas coming out of our ears and loads of the curriculum covered. Favorites of mine were throw the hoop up into the air and let it fall around you whilst you held a pencil shape (the hoop shouldn’t touch you!). Spin the hoop as you throw it so that it comes back towards you and then jump over it. Spin your hoop round your arm, then swap arms or even swap to a partners arms. The ideas were endless and the children really enjoyed it. We will keep all these ideas and add them to routines that we do in the future. Hoops will become a staple hand apparatus for lots of my routines going forward!

We then split into groups and I set the children activities to incorporate more of the gymnastics skills.  One child held the hoop out for the rest of their group to roll through – forwards and sideways. We used the hoops to put our hands in for cartwheels and then used the hoops for hurdle step practice (first hoop – one foot, second hoop – two feet take off JUMP then third hoop – landing shape) all great activities and we could have expanded this had we more time.

To finish off the classes we joined together in a large circle all linking hands and passed  hoops round the circle. The children had to stay linked together getting their whole bodies through the hoop to pass it to the next person. This was a great team work activity and a lovely finish to a great class.