It was a strange end to a very strange school year, with kids missing out on all the usual in-person festivities like graduations, field trips, field days and yearbook signings.
We applaud all the creative efforts of schools to re-create these opportunities for students - from ice-cream Zoom parties to balloon-decorated drive-bys. Taos High did a great job of commemorating the class of 2020 and every school made sure students got to celebrate and say goodbye to classmates before heading off into a summer of unknowns.
Here at Twirl, we wanted to commemorate the end of the school year with some fun of our own. So last week, we distributed 700 Hula-hoops to kids through the family food program and a flyer featuring some great ideas for getting outside and playing, produced in partnership with the Field Institute of Taos.
Hula-hooping is the perfect social distancing activity to do with a friend or two. The sum of the radius of each hoop plus enough clearance to avoid banging into each other should be just enough to keep you those necessary six feet apart. Give yourself an extra couple of feet just to be sure.
Whether you are just getting started or know all the tricks, Hula-hooping is lots of fun and great exercise, too. Learning to do it is one of the great accomplishments of childhood. If you don't already know how, keep trying. Hint: It takes a lot less movement than you might think to keep it going, and it's more a back and forth movement with your hips than a circle. Another tip: bigger, heavier Hula-hoops are actually easier to learn with.
So now you have the basics down, it's time to test out your skills. See who in your family can go the longest. Who is the most stylish? Who has the best tricks?
Here's 10 other fun things you can do with a Hula-hoop:
1. How far can you roll the hoop?
2. Can you spin it on your arm?
3. Can you throw it and catch it?
4. Can you jump through it while it's rolling?
5. Can you throw it like a Frisbee?
6. Can you throw it in the air and catch it with a leg?
7. Can you roll it and throw a ball through the middle?
8. Can you walk while Hula-hooping?
9. Can you pick up the hoop with your toes?
10. Can you do a cartwheel to pick up the hoop?
You can also check out Amber's Hooptastic video on Twirl Taos Youtube or Facebook page for 10 hilarious Hula-hoop games to play with your family. Seriously, really fun and funny games, with a cameo appearance from Rocky Mountain Youth Corps' very own Ben Thomas.
And, in case you don't have your own hoop at home, Liana created a "make your own hula hoop" video with some fun STEAM learning tips, which you can also find on our channels. Hula-hoops are really fun and easy to make, with just a couple of items from the hardware store - some irrigation tubing, connectors, little rocks or beans to create noise and added weight, and some tape or sparkles to decorate.
If you have really little people in your household, here is a fun sensory activity you can do with them, too. Securely tie baby-appropriate items all around the hula hoop like pom poms, ribbons, toys, bells. Any item that would interest your baby. Put your baby down for tummy time in the middle of the hoop so they can explore. And if your baby is starting to walk, stand your baby up and let them hold on to one half of the hoop while you hold onto the other to help them practice.
Happy Hula-hooping! Stay safe, wear your mask, follow social distance guidelines and with luck we will all be playing again in person soon.
Twirl will continue to provide free resources for play and learning at home throughout the summer in partnership with Las Cumbres, Taos Behavioral Health and the Taos Municipal Schools, thanks to the generous support of the Taos Community Foundation Fund for Taos, the Keeler Foundation and individual donors.
Keep in touch with our programs by following Twirl on Facebook, @twirleye on Instagram and subscribing to our Twirl Taos Youtube.
- Report submitted by Twirl staff