The hula hoop has been around for a long, long time. The Greeks used hula hoops as a form of exercise to tone their abdominal muscles. Around 1300, “hooping” was introduced in Great Britain.

In the 1800s, British sailors first witnessed hula dancing in the Hawaiian Islands. The sailors noticed that the body movements of hula dancing and hooping looked quite similar, and the name “hula hoop” was born.

The hula hoop has undergone many changes, improvements and modifications over the years. Hula hoops were not always made of plastic. Older hoops were made from various materials, including metal, bamboo, wood, grass and sometimes even vines.

While they may not be the inventors of the hula hoop, Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin of the Wham-O company hold the trademark on the name “Hula Hoop.” In 1958, Wham-O began manufacturing the toy out of plastic tubing. Wham-O sold 25 million hula hoops in the first four months at a price of $1.98 each.

By the end of their second year of sales, Wham-O had sold more than 100 million hula hoops. They continue to be one of the most successful manufacturers of modern hula hoops.

Today, Wham-O continues to produce a variety of well-known recreational games and toys, including the Hula Hoop, Hacky Sack®, Slip-n-Slide, Frisbee and Boogie Board.

In recent years, hooping has become popular among people of all ages. Many people use hooping as a form of exercise. Some adventurous hula hoopers hoop with fire hoops!

There is even an international multiyear celebration called “World Hoop Day.” It began on 7-7-07 and will continue through 12-12-12.

On World Hoop Day each year, hula hoopers gather in cities around the world to dance, hoop and raise money to donate hula hoops to children around the world who cannot afford them. The final two World Hoop Days will take place on 11-11-11 and 12-12-12.


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    • We are so happy to know that you learned something cool about the awesome hula hoop, Wonder Friend Ali! It’s great to have an awesome Wonder Friend like you! :)

  1. I think the video was great, and it was good to find all of the facts. I thank this website for helping me with my report. Thank you.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Who invented the hula hoop?
  • How did the hula hoop get its name?
  • What kind of materials have hula hoops been made from?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

Feeling loopy? Next time you’re hanging out with a group of friends or family, try this hula game.

Can you send the hoop around the loop without letting go of each other’s hands? It may be more challenging than you think, but it’s sure to be hula-rious fun.


Still Wondering

Visit ArtsEdge’s Island Breezes: Exploring Hula Dance lesson to learn about the history of hula, the gestures and movements of hula, and the meaning of this Hawaiian dance.


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