If I say, “Hula Hoop,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Quick!
When you think of hula hoops, you probably don’t necessarily think of team building games. You might think of memories of elementary school PE or recess. You might think of a sibling or neighbor who used to enjoy playing with them.
As for me, a number of team activities come to mind! (Surprise, surprise.) Most of these I have experienced and led; however, some of them are new to me and a couple are adapted from other exercises that I have led.
Here are some fun and challenging team building games you can do with hula hoops. Some only require one hoop per group, but some of them require several. Make sure you’ll know how many you need before you start each activity and, as always, let me know how it goes!
7 Team Building Activities with Hula Hoops
1. Hula Hut Relay
With this activity, teams are challenged to first build a hut made from 6 hula hoops, and then they must get their hole team to pass through the hut, one at a time, until everyone has made it through.
Variations: Once team members have successfully completed the first challenge, then there are several other ways to play this game:
a. Have each person go through backwards.
b. Each team member must pass through blindfolded.
c. Once a hole or gap is used, it may not be used again.
Watch this video to see an example:
2. All Aboard
In this challenge, a team is asked to get everyone inside the hula hoop with no hand or feet touching outside the circle. Use varying sizes of hula hoops to adjust to your group size or to make it more challenging.
3. Hula Hut Tower
Similar to the hula hut challenge, the teams make a hula hut but see how high they can stack them. No one has to go through the huts, however. Tallest tower wins bragging rights.
4. Hula Pass Through
Have your group stand in a circle holding hands. This challenge is for the team to pass the hula hoop once around the circle without anyone letting go. Once the team is successful with that, have them pass two different-sized hoops around the circle in opposite directions.
a. Add a deflated tire tube to the mix to up the difficulty.
b. Add a ball under the chin (no hand allowed) to the exercise to increase the difficulty even more!
5. Hula Crossing
Similar to a river crossing or junk yard-type challenge, you can use different-sized hula hoops to set up an exercise to move a team from one point to another. To increase the difficulty, use smaller (and fewer) hoops.
Here’s a video of a similar challenge, Hot Chocolate River Crossing:
6. Helium Hoop
This is a variation on the helium stick exercise. The object of this exercise is to lower the hula hoop to the ground. Sounds easy, right? This is a lot harder than it looks, and it is because of the rules.
Rule #1 – You may only use your forefingers to touch the hoop.
Rule #2 – Everyone’s fingers (both of them) must be touching the hoop at all times.
It really is a fun and amazingly hard challenge! It pushes the teams to communicate and really focus on working together.
7. Hula Crossing + All Aboard
This last one is a combination of two previous challenges. Combine them to make one extreme challenge. A group starts in one spot and must cross over to the last hoop, where everyone must get on the “island” or perish.
Push your group to use only smaller-sized hoops for both the “crossing” piece of the challenge, and the All Aboard at the end.
Make It Fun and Challenging
There are 2 great reasons to do team building activities of any kind. One is to have an enjoyable experience. The other is to move your team out of their comfort zone and learn something about themselves that can transform both individuals and groups.
The great thing about these challenges is that they are both fun and challenging. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. There may be times when you emphasize one over the other, but with these hula hoop activities, you have both enjoyment and difficulty.
Don’t Forget to Debrief
After you finish with each activity, take some time to process through each experience. You can use other activities to debrief, you can use one of many creative debrief exercises, or you can create your own using the hula hoops.
Whatever you decide to do, take your time in processing the activities. Don’t skimp out here. Many of the team’s “aha” moments will happen here, and you can also move a team into other activities based on what is revealed during the debrief process.