As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Traditional Kids’ Games series (4) Skipping Ropes & Hula Hoops

June 1st is International Children’s Day. This week we will look into the games that children played before the age of computer and arcade games. Yes, lest we forget, there was a time when kid’s fun didn’t cause obesity or cost a lot of money. Kids used to interact with each other and laugh (out loud) together. They stayed active and sweat it out. They took turns. They learned that the only way to get better was to practice, practice and practice some more.

Today I feature Skipping Ropes and Hula Hoops.

“Jumping Jerry”
bronze and copper sheets & other found metals
Art by Paulina Constancia, San Francisco 1998
This is a little tribute I made for my father Jerry who enjoyed skipping every morning as a way to keep fit.

The Skipping Rope
Its History

The exact origin of jumping rope is unclear; however, jump rope dates back all the way to the ancient Egyptians and aborigines of Australia. The first jump ropes are said to be made of bamboo and vines found in jungles. Jumping along with these items led to what is today referred to as jump roping. Some say it originated in China, while Western versions are said to have originated around 1600 B.C. in Egypt. The first real evidence of jump rope as an activity is seen in medieval paintings… In the 1940s and 1950’s jump rope became the game of choice for city or town children because anyone could play and it only required a rope. The 1970s brought an increased interest to jump rope as a way to achieve physical fitness and health. Since then, jump rope events and programs have emerged and jumping rope has become part of many different exercise training regimens. Info Source

“Kids at Play” (cropped)
Mixed Media art by Paulina Constancia
Calgary 2008

Watch a Jump Rope routine at the World Championships
Read this article which discusses three ways that your skipping rope (aka-jump rope) can be used to improve both your health and the quality of your life. 

The Hoop

When did humans first experience the joys of hula hooping? Although the actual term “hula hoop” didn’t emerge until the 20th century, the toy itself is older than most world religions.

If you were to travel back in time to 1,000 B.C., you’d find Egyptian children playing with hoop toys of dried grapevine. No doubt they threw them, jumped them and slung them around their bodies like we do today. But for the most part, the ancient hooping pastime of choice involved striking the hoops with sticks to roll them down the road.

Hoop rolling remained a popular game in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks decorated their large, metal hoop toys with bells — and they didn’t consider it a mere kid’s game either. Even mythological characters got in on the fun. Fifth century B.C. paintings often depict the hero Ganymede with a hoop in one hand and a rooster (don’t ask) in the other. Similar hoop games and dances were popular in early cultures throughout Asia, Africa and the Americas.
“Kids at Play” (cropped)
Mixed Media art by Paulina Constancia
Calgary 2008

The ancient British enjoyed a battle game called “kill the hoop,” in which participants hurled spears at a rolling wooden or metal hoop. By the 14th century, however, they were just as thrilled to spin the hoops around their waists. Which pastime was more dangerous? If historical records are any indication, the medieval British hoop craze resulted in dislocated backs and heart failure. Physicians of the day even issued a dire warning: “Hoops kill”.

The Hula Hoop
Info Source

The hula hoop is an ancient invention – no modern company and no single inventor can claim that they invented the first hula hoop. The Greeks used hooping as a form of exercise.
Older hoops have been made from metal, bamboo, wood, grasses, and even vines. However, modern companies “re-invented” their own versions of the hula hoop using unusual materials, for example; plastic hula hoops with added bits of glitter and noise makers, and hoops that are collapsible.

Origins of the Name HULA Hoop

Around 1300, hooping came to Great Britain, homemade versions of the toy became very popular. In the early 1800s, British sailors first witnessed hula dancing in the Hawaiian Islands. Hula dancing and hooping look somewhat similar and the name “hula hoop” came together.

Hula Hoop Trivia
Info Sources: 

  • Japan and Indonesia once banned the hula hoop because the rotating hip action seems indecent.
  • The original price of the hoop in 1958 was $1.98 
  • At the height of their popularity, Wham-O manufactured 20,000 hoops a day. 
  • On June 4, 2005, Australian Kareena Oates set a Guinness world record for hula hooping – with 100 hoops for three full revolutions.
  • 101 hoops were spun by Alesya Goulevich of Belarus on June 11, 2006
  • 105 hoops were spun by Jin Linlin of China on October 28, 2007.
  • The world record for the largest Hula Hoop (by circumference) spun was set by American Ashrita Furman at 51.5 feet on June 1, 2007.

Click here to watch a Hula Hoop fitness video

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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