Use a hula hoop to simplify ball-catching games with young kids

Kirsten’s ball-playing hack would work well indoors, too. (I’m thinking rainy day basement play.)

You know when you’re playing catch, soccer, baseball or such games with preschoolers or toddlers?  They always move really close to you in between turns, and you have to keep moving them back so there is room to throw/kick, etc.  I started putting a hula hoop on the ground where they should be, and they stay in the hoop (or if they don’t, it’s ‘Quick, back to the circle!’) and you get more time for actual playing.  I think it’s less confusing for the kids, too.

We use hula hoops to play big indoor hopscotch, too.


  1. reen says

    I thought only my kids did the crowding thing. :) I hate to feel like I’m shooing them away…I’m just trying to make enough space to play ball! This is a good idea – now I know what to do with the hula hoops my daughters keep smooshing vertically until they crimp.

  2. glaxaco says

    Reminds me of something I came up with teaching my boys how to hit a ball I tossed to them, which is a whole lot harder than hitting a ball off a tee. Instead of a whiffle ball or other normal baseball-sized ball, I used a larger (but light) playground ball – one of those they sell in the big wire cage thingies in discount stores. Bigger ball means more chance of hitting it, which means less frustration and more happiness all around.

  3. Jill in Atlanta says

    I like the hack and the idea/hack from glaxaco. I’m investing in a hula hoop. We already have playground balls.

    My playground ball hack is to pull out a large one for my son while I use an exercise ball. He tries to exercise with me. I let him take turns with me giving directions for new exercises and we do them together.