Build and Take Shelter: A Simple Team Building PE Activity Using Hula Hoops
Throughout my 21 years of teaching physical education, hula hoops have always been an effective tool in my arsenal of equipment. Of their countless uses, one of my favorite activities with hula hoops is a team building challenge I call “Build and Take Shelter.” This activity can be modified for any level from kindergarten and up.
The Set Up:
The set up for Build and Take Shelter is simple. Prior to the students entering the gym, I spread out piles of six hula hoops throughout the gym. When the students enter, we gather in an “information formation” to discuss our cooperative mission. This is when I slowly demonstrate how to build a sphere or “shelter” with the hoops. I explain that our shelter will consist of six parts: the foundation, two walls, a front door, a back door, and a roof. I give the students an opportunity to study the shelter for about 30 seconds before I demonstrate how to build it one more time. For younger classes, I will leave this shelter set up so students can use it as a visual guide.
I explain to the class that in groups of three, they will have to build their own shelter. Once their shelter is built, they each need to take turns crawling through it without knocking it down. If the shelter collapses, they simply rebuild and try again. Once each player has crawled through successfully, they repeat the process.
After building the shelter a second time, the group can attempt to fit all three members of the group inside the shelter without knocking it down.
Build and Take Shelter is a simple, quick activity which helps to reinforce students’ ability to communicate and share responsibility as they work as a team. Give it a try! Your students will love it. View the video below to see my students doing the activity.
About the Author:
Justin Cahill has been teaching physical education for 21 years. He began his career in Washington, DC before moving to Atlanta in 2007 to work at Trinity School. To learn more about his program check out his blog at jcahillpe.wordpress.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @ and check out his Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion for ideas, articles, blog posts, and videos promoting lifelong fitness for today’s youth.
Check out more PE lesson plans, games, and activity ideas from best selling author and award winning physical education teacher J.D. Hughes. His book No Standing Around in My Gym is a great resource and inspires activities like this one!