Hula Hoops and Worms: 3 Team Building Activities

This year marks the 4th year in a row that I've looped with some of my students.  After having my loopers last year and in summer school, I noticed that we were having trouble working in groups.  I attributed it to "sibling rivalry" since these kids are together in class and at home- they all live in the same apartment building.  This summer I spent a little bit of time finding first-week activities that suited our needs- we didn't need All About Me worksheets, we needed practice working together.  I implemented two of my favorites during the first few days of class and could immediately see the difference in their cooperation.

We started with a hula hoop activity.  We placed a hula hoop on the floor, then used our index fingers to raise it to chest height.  From there, we had to spin it until the tape marker was back where it started.  This took quite a few tries, as some kids were faster to get up than others. 


After that activity we moved to the hallway and formed a circle.  They had to hold hands and step through the hoop until it went back to the first person.  I was so impressed with their technique- for students who wanted to go over the head, the last person would count "1,2,3" and then toss it up.  This activity was a lot easier than the lift and spin one.  I loved doing these back to back, because we were able to sit down and talk about what made things easier or harder. 

The next activity was "Save Sam." aka "Save Fred." As I've mentioned before, my goal is to get reading, writing, listening and speaking into every lesson or activity.  The hula hoop activity was heavy on listening and speaking, so I decided to add a little more reading and writing to this lesson.  After some research I came across Fearless 5th Grade's Prezi and scientific method worksheet, which was perfect for my students.

The object of Save Fred is to get Fred (the worm) into his lifejacket (the lifesaver) which is under the boat (the cup) that has capsized.  My boys all were yelling out "Easy Peasy!" until I told them they couldn't use their hands.  I love surprising them.

They worked in groups of 2 or 3 to complete part of their scientific method sheet and determine a plan for their experiment.  Finally it was time to Save Fred, amid much shouting, laughing, and cheering.  The following day we talked about working together, shared our scientific method plans, and discussed how each person contributed to the experiment. And then we ate gummy worms...possibly their favorite part? 

I'm positive that doing these experiments contributed to the a-m-a-zing teamwork I've been seeing over the past two weeks.  My boys have really stepped it up in the cooperation department and I'm hoping it stays that way!  What do you do to build community in your room?


  1. Hey Great Article about team building activities especially for kids.. Thanks for this info... Keep updating....

  2. Hula Hoops and Worms are the best team building activities for kids!! I always use Hula Hoops in my class. I have never thought that Worms could also be good options team building methods. I’ll definitely use this.


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