Written by Mike Sheley

With the summer olympic games on the horizon, it’s time to have some fun junior high winter games – hula hoop style!


Quick Overview:

Play one of these four games each week during a series or play them all in one night for a hula hoop themed game night! A short devotion on Galatians 1:10 is included as well.


1. 6+ Hula Hoops. You can pick these up for a few dollars at your local store. If you want to save money, ask if any families have some they will loan or donate. If you want to make things fancier, you can find a wide variety with LED lights online.

2. 6 Foam Balls. Since people will be holding the hoops for these games, foam balls will make this game less hazardous. NERF has some fun options: football, vortex football with tail and basketball.

3. 6 Hedstrom Toy Balls. Pick up a few of these at your local retail store. Not only are they good for this game, but they can be used to change up a variety of other games as well.


Talk with a few leaders ahead of time to have them volunteer to be the brave “hoop holders.”

That’s it for prep!

Game to Play:

Hula QB

  • Divide up students into two teams.
  • Have 3 volunteers each hold a hula hoop in the air vertically at three different distances from a starting line.
  • Have the students line up in two single-file lines at the starting line.
  • Each student gets three chances to throw the football through the hoops.
  • You can have them throw once per hoop or you can make each hoop worth more points the farther away it is and allow them to throw at whichever hoop they want.
  • You can select a certain number of students to play or play until everyone has had a chance to throw.
  • Team with the most completed passes through the hoops and/or most points wins.

Over and Under

  • For this hula version of a classic team game, line up students into two, even, single-file lines. They should all be facing the same direction.
  • Have a leader standing in front of each line with three hula hoops.
  • When you say go, the leader hands the first person in line one hula hoop.
  • She takes it over their head, dropping it to her feet.
  • She then steps out of the hoop and passes it to the person behind her.
  • He steps into the hoops and does the opposite, lifting it up from his feet over his head.
  • He then passes it to the person behind him and the cycle repeats, over and under.
  • When the first hoop reaches the fourth person, the leader hands the first person in line a second hoop. They do the same with the third hoop.
  • To make this more challenging, make the first person in line change from dropping to lifting to dropping with each hoop given them.
  • First team to get all three hoops to the last person in line wins!
  • Need to fill more time? Have them pass each hoop forward after it reaches the last person in line!


  • You can pick as many students as you want to play this game. These instructions are for the first person. Repeat these for as many rounds as you want students to play.
  • Have two students stand facing away from each other a few feet apart.
  • Have three leaders each hold out a hoop as if it were a basketball hoop.
    • One stands directly in front of the student, at 10 feet away if you have the room.
    • The other two stand the same distance away, but at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions.
  • On “Go!”, give the students a foam basketball or a toy ball to shoot.
  • Students take one shot per hoop.
  • Student who makes the most shots wins. You can make this a tournament.
  • If multiple students are shooting, award 3 points for each shot and keep track of total points. Most points wins.

Hooper Links

  • Divide students into two equal teams.
  • Have each team stand in a single-file line, but side by side.
  • When the game begins, students can hold hands – or knowing junior highers – they can grab wrists.
  • A leader stands at the front of each line with three hula hoops.
  • Place the first hoop over the first person in lines head.
  • That person has to step through the hoop, passing it to the next person, without letting go.
  • This process continues as each person figures out how to get through the hoop and, in doing so, passes it along to the next person.
  • If at any time someone lets go, the hoop nearest them gets sent back to the beginning of the line.
  • First team to pass all three hoops to the last person wins.
  • If this is difficult for your junior highers, you can set a time limit and declare the winner the team who gets their hoop or hoops the farthest.


All of these games involved hoops. Have any of you ever heard the phrase “jump through hoops”?

(Allow students to respond. If they have heard of it, ask if they know what it means.)

This idiom means “to do just about anything to please someone.” It comes from trained circus animals jumping through hoops, doing what they were trained to do to please the crowds.

In junior high, you are trying to figure out who you are and where you belong. It’s easy to find yourself “jumping through hoops,” or doing things to please others without really thinking about what you want to do.

Paul, a Christian whose letters make up a large chunk of the Bible, wrote about this in a letter. He was describing how important the truth of the good news about Jesus is when he penned this verse.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
(Galatians 1:10 NLT)

If you want to make other people happy, you’ll find yourself doing things sillier and sometimes more serious than just jumping through a hula hoop. However, if you are more concerned about pleasing God, then you’ll find yourself disappointing or upsetting other people as you follow and live more like Jesus. There’s a choice to make and there are more important things than points at stake.


If you liked this game, check out Combination Lock Challenge

BubbleMikeMike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders.  He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 15 years with most of that time focused on preteens and junior highers.

Photo by Wanna Be Creative and used under a Creative Commons License from https://flic.kr/p/c2JaTs