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My Hula Hoop was the Best Toy Ever

Updated on September 19, 2014

The Hula Hoop was the Hippest toy around

How I loved my Hula Hoop! Mine was bamboo, a pre-plastic classic and I do wish I had it now.

The Hula Hoop was an Australian idea that became an international phenomenon and had more hips swiveling than Elvis Presley could ever imagine.

Where are the Hula Hoops of Yesteryear?

The Hula Hoop is Australian! - We were the first!

Models in Melbourne about 1957

It was in Australia that the first plastic hula hoops were made.

Back in 1957, Coles department store sold bamboo hoops, but the supplier couldn't produce enough to meet demand. So they invited Alex Tolmer, the founder of Toltoys, to produce plastic ones. Toltoys sold 400,000 plastic hoops in 1957. There were less than 10 million people in the whole continent in that year so that's a heck of a lot of hula hoops.

It wasn't until 1958, that Wham-O started to market hula hoops in the USA. One hundred million hula hoops were sold in 1958! And that's a lot of plastic.

In some places the Hula Hoop was a no-no

You couldn't swing a hula hoop in Indonesia, it was incredibly offensive to shake your hips in public. I don't recommend doing it now either. Likewise in Japan, the authorities banned the practice and the Soviet Union described it as yet another example of Western decadence .

Everyone loved Hula Hoops! - The Craze that came and went

The plastic tubing for all the Hula Hoops of 1958 would stretch around the world more than five times

The Hula Hoop in Ancient Greece

"There is nothing new under the sun"

This is a Krater, a large vase used to mix wine and water in Ancient Greece. This style is called a Bell Krater as it looks like an inverted bell.

The figure represents Ganymede and, yes, he's playing with a hoop.

The Ancient Greeks, creators of the Olympic Games, used these early hula hoops as a fitness tool.

You find plenty of references to these Hula Hoops of antiquity. In Euripides' Medea, Medea's young sons first appear when "fresh from their hoop bowling.".

Roman children used a ring made of grapevines like a hula hoop, I'm not sure how young Lucius or Marcus would have used these hoops, probably for bowling like the Greek boys, and my own grandfather, did.

The Tao of the Hula Hoop

The Hula Hoop was more than a toy. It was almost a way of life.

I hula-hooped because I enjoyed the challenge and wanted to be the best. The Hula Hoop was an escape from the small setbacks in my day and it had the power of taking me out of myself, a method to reach detachment from daily trivia, a small journey to another place. While in this other place I was above the mundane world and enjoyed the wonderful effect of not hearing my mother call me to clean up my room.

The Scoop on the Hoop

The hoop returns!

You may find it hard to believe in an age of action-packed video games and whiz-bang gadgets that the hula hoop, in its innocence, could return. But you would be wrong to dismiss them as a relic of the past.

Fitness, with a Hula Hoop - Not just fitness, but metamorphosis

Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program
Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program

Combine the sheer joy of childhood play with results you can see and feel. Who needs a gym?


A Classy Hula Hoop Act

From the Cirque du Soleil. This takes the Hula Hoop beyond the boundary

How to Hoop that Hula

In 4 simple steps

Don't know how to swing that hula hoop? You're probably trying too hard. Don't try to move your hips in a circle, you need a rocking motion. Back and forth. Back and forth.

Put one foot in front of the other.

Hold the hoop against your back.

Give the hoop a shove with your hand and

Rock your weight back and forth on your feet

Hula Hoops are now Art

What do you say?

Should the Hula Hoop return to its Glory Days?

Do you hoop a loop with a hula hoop?

Did you do it years ago?

See results

© 2009 Susanna Duffy

Loop a Hoop in my Guestbook - All comments greatly appreciated

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    • kerbev profile image


      4 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I won a local gong show hula hooping back in the day! My niece has a few and she's as good as I was. She loves them. The key is getting a good one. All the local box stores have crappy lightweight ones that simply won't work.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hula Hooping back into shape

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      8 years ago

      I lov to Hula :)

    • verymary profile image


      9 years ago from Chicago area

      Believe it or not I'm a better hula hooper now at age 43 than I was as a kid. Go figure! Awesome lens, 5* !

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      9 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Hmmm, low impact. You've given me an idea, maybe I should reconsider having given up my hula hoop years ago. Might be perfect for an mature person.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Fun Lens. I loved the hula hoop. It's great exercise for all ages. :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      9 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Hula hoops are great fun and wonderful exercise. My water-filled one sprung a leak, though, and flung water all over the room one evening during exercise time before I realized what was happening!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      9 years ago

      I used to be pretty good at hula hooping but I shudder to think what would happen now.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      9 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I never could master the hula hoop, and I am not eager to give it another shot at my age.

    • momto4 lm profile image

      momto4 lm 

      9 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens! Great pictures! And that video was awesome! It would be neat to see that women live! Great job!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      I didn't know the hoola hoop was originally Australian. I do love the picture of the models with the hoola hoops.

    • Lou165 profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Awesome lens, I got the old hula hoop out the other week, but my 8 year old showed me up....I'm sure I used to be able to do it, but now!

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 

      9 years ago

      Love the photos you chose! Hula hoop is the best.

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 

      9 years ago

      Great memories, although I never quite got it :( 5*'s and a smile!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Yep. I loved the hula hoop. We didn't realise then how fit it must have made us. Bring it back!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Yay Australia! On the Wii Fit there is a hula hoop activity to help burn fat :-)

    • SherryHolderHunt profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens, I didn't know that they could be bamboo. I wish I could Hula but I just can't get the hang of it. 5*s

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I still have my Hula Hoop!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      9 years ago

      Oh this was so much fun! If I hula hooped today I'd break something, most likely ME. I loved the hula hoop as a kid! Great job!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      9 years ago from United States

      I had totally forgotten the Hula Hoop. I liked it way back when.... Thanks for the reminder. That 1957 photo is hilarious for a different reason. After seeing that photo, I don't think the “oh so popular” camisoles of today are nearly as licentious as I previously thought. Great Lens!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I was hula hoop challenged. Maybe I just didn't have the hips for it. I was just a skinny little thing back then. I couldn't master the baton either. Or softball. Such a klutz. I do admire those who could make it go round and round and round.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Another great lens, Susanna! I used to love to hula hoop. Maybe I'd drop a few pounds if I took it up again.


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