Activities & Games

Hula Hoop Four Square
Kindergarten-5th Grade

Allotted Time

15-20 minutes

Target Behavior

Stay calm when faced with a challenge

Words to Live By

Life's full of surprises that make me feel different ways. If I can control myself, I'll have much better days.
Understand that life is full of surprises and different feelings

Children who understand that life is full of surprises and different feelings can:

IDENTIFY factors that cause stress

DESCRIBE how various situations make them feel

RECOGNIZE mood changes and factors that contribute to them

REFLECT on the possible consequences before expressing an emotion


Students compete with each other during an active twist on the game four square.


  • One hula hoop for every student
  • 2 bean bags for every student

How to Play

  1. Have your students get into groups of 4.
  2. Give each student a hula hoop and have the groups make a square with their hula hoops laying on the ground side by side.
  3. Put two bean bags inside every student’s hula hoop.
  4. On “go,” students will get in plank position–with two hands inside of their hula hoop, arms extended, and feet on the ground. Be prepared to model this position for them.
  5. Once the timer starts, all students remain in plank position and begin tossing bean bags into other students’ hula hoops.
  6. Let them know that the goal of this game is to have zero bean bags inside their hula hoop once time is up.
  7. Start the first round with only thirty seconds so students can get some practice and then increase the time as you see fit.
  8. Have students count up how many bean bags they have in their hula hoop when time is up and the student with the lowest score wins!
  9. Continue playing until time is up.

Activity Prompts for Reflection

  • What was something that surprised you during this game?
  • How were you able to control yourself while beanbags were getting tossed in your hula hoop?
  • What were some positive emotions you felt during this game?
  • What were some negative emotions you felt during this game?

Other Ways to Play

  • If staying in the plank position is too difficult, have students stay on their knees instead of their feet.
  • Have older students count their total bean bags after each round and add them up as rounds continue. So, instead of having winners each round, name the person who had the least amount of total, cumulative bean bags as the Four Square Champion.

Additional Notes

  • Have students rotate to different groups of four after each round.  This will help students practice working with a variety of people and make sure the same student in each group is not winning every time.
  • Use the SEL Activity Prompts to tie other SEL competencies to this activity.

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