Sunday, September 13, 2015

Little Red Block

This little tool is one of my favorites from preschool! You can get a mat just like this from most gym suppliers.  I love it much better than the old flat cartwheel mat that used to be used to teach cartwheels.  I use it for cartwheels, but also for almost every skill!  Here are just a few of the things I use it for in classes:

It also makes a get step stool for the extra little ones for bars, beams, etc. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tony Chestnut

Welcome to my favorite alternative head, shoulders, knees and toes!  

I sing the song normally, but I won't make you suffer through that.  I sing and act it out very slowly for my parent-tot classes.  You will be surprised how many pick it up fast!  Make sure you practice, practice, practice before you sing with a class (especially with parents!)

I also love to use this one for my school-aged field trips.  It is a great gathering time activity when we switch from one activity to another.  I gather them with the song (do it one time slow, and then one time fast to challenge them).  Once they have sung, the attention is on you and you have time to explain the rules of the next activity.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hula-Hoops without Hula-Hooping!

I am going to post a couple videos that have some great ideas of things that you can pull and use at home or at the gym to incorporate hula-hoop!  Most kids these days actually don't even know how to hula-hoop so these can be great introductions to them.

Video One:

Now, most gyms won't have bleachers, but I love to tie the hula hoops to different areas of my gym to make baskets and targets.  You can tie them between parallel bars, hang them from the bars or beams, etc.  I always make sure to emphasize that these skills build to bigger gymnastics skills later!  They not only help with hand eye coordination, but they also build grip strength for bars.
Most of the basketball/baseball games they describe will be too much for a preschooler though in this video, but you can for sure do those with your school-aged kiddos!

Video Two:

I liked this video because it goes over fun ideas on how to actually teach hula-hooping.  Again, more for school-aged.  With hula hoops on the ground, you can also do musical chairs but with hula hoops using different ways to go around as she demonstrates.

Now, for those preschoolers (and parent-tots), here are some of my FAVORITE grab and go activities!

1)  FETCH!  Have grown-up or coach just roll the hoop and kiddo has to run (or skip, or gallop) to go catch it and bring it back!  For more of a challenge, kiddo needs to catch up and go through the hoop while it is moving!

2)  Hoops make great boundaries!  Set up a station inside your hoop!  Grip changes for bars holding the side of the hoop, stretching inside, push-up hold inside, etc.  It works even better if you have those velcro arrows or lines so that you can stick the hula-hoop to the ground.  It takes away the temptation that most kids will have.  

I also use the hoops as a transitional tool sometimes.  It turns into our space ship and everyone has to grab hold as we travel to our next station.  Helps to keep all your kiddos with you!

3)  Spin and stick!  I do this one sometimes for warm-ups and vaulting stations.  I spin or toss the hoop and the student needs to run and jump into the middle and show me their "stick-it position".  

4)  Through the tunnel!  Have a friend hold it while you go through.  Remember that importance on crawling?  Try to emphasize those crawling moments!  For parent and tot classes, I will line up the parents with their hoops so that there is a tunnel of hoops for the tots to go through.  

Do you have more ideas of things to do with hula-hoops?  Do you have something else you would like some extra ideas on?  Feel free to email me at