Oops, she did it again! Deb Johanson, Developmental Adapted Physical Education teacher in the St. Cloud Area School District 742, dug into her creative basket and found another great idea to share with kids and parents at the 2013 Earth Day Run – BLEND Kids Health and Fitness Expo. If you attended the 2012 Expo, Deb was the genius behind the hula hoop station. If you didn’t attend, Deb, in partnership with The Home Depot (and many volunteers), made more than 820 hula hoops out of irrigation tubing. We posted a blog about it last year - Making Hula Hoops for Fun and Fitness!
So, during the 2012 expo…while watching kids joyously cling to their hula hoop, Deb says, “I have an idea for the 2013 expo…ribbon balls“. For many that know Deb, she is always thinking of the next step or the next big idea. “It’s simple – call our local tennis experts and ask if they could donate their gently used tennis balls.” And the rest…is history.
Paul Bates was the obvious person to call. Paul is one of Minnesota’s finest tennis coaches and has been a tennis teaching professoinal for more than 20 years. He is the St. Cloud Tech High School tennis coach and a Physical Education teacher at Westwood Elementary (St. Cloud Area School District 742). Of course he would have some old tennis balls for this project. Sure enough…he donated a “few” of them for us. (1,300 in fact!)
How to Make Tennis Ribbon Balls
Step 1) First things first - gather your supplies. You’ll need:
Tennis Balls – new or used
5/8″ Ribbon - 2 strands cut at 3 feet long (satin or grosgrain)
Box Cutter or Blade
Step 2) Now – measure the ribbon and cut on an angle. (This will help prevent the ribbon from fraying). Align both pieces of ribbon together and knot in the middle as close as it can go to the end of the loop. Use an assortment of colors to customize the ribbon balls for your family.
Step 3) Set the box cutter blade on the second notch. Grab a tennis ball and find a center point between the seams. Carefully, puncture the ball with the blade until a small cut is made. Approximately a 3/8″ cut. Remove and retract the blade.
Step 4) With the flathead screwdriver, place the tip inside the ribbon loop. Draw the remaining ribbon along the screwdriver and hold tightly.
Step 5) Find the cut in the tennis ball and place the ball on a firm, flat surface. Push the ribbon loop and screwdriver tip through the cut.
Step 6.) This is not a job for little ones…this takes some force. With some tennis balls it’s easy while others it takes some work. You may have to twist and push a little more aggressively. Once a “thump” is heard the knot is in and secured. Wiggle the ribbon so that it is snugly in place. The rubber inside will create resistance so the ribbon won’t easily come out.
And there you have it – your very own Tennis Ribbon Ball!
Kids (and adults) love playing catch with the ribbon balls. They are a fun way to get in some daily “active” play. Until next year…it doesn’t take a lot of money to get kids up and physically active. With a little creativity and time you can drum up excitement for the entire family.
A special thank you to Volunteer Services at the St. Cloud Hospital for cutting and knotting the ribbons. We are very fortunate to has such a wonderful team of volunteers to call on when we need help.
Thanks for reading this blog! If you attended the Earth Day Run – BLEND Kids Health and Fitness Expo – THANK YOU for coming out. We hope you enjoyed the fun!!
BLEND partners with many youth-serving organizations, schools and teachers, medical professionals, and fitness groups in Central MN to learn about new ideas and innovative ways to promote fun and physical activity to kids and families. While planning activities for the Earth Day Run BLEND Kids Health & Fitness Expo - BLEND asked members of their Physical Activity Committee to come up with ideas for give-aways – something kids could take home and continue to play and be active with even after the event. Some suggested were balls, Frisbees and jump ropes…good ideas but BLEND has done that before.
Deb Johansen, a member of the committee and a developmental adapted physical education teacher for Roosevelt Early Childhood Center in St. Cloud Area School District 742, encouraged BLEND to give away hula hoops to kids who attend the event. Naturally, questions were asked.PA Committee: “where would we get the hula hoops – who’s your supplier?” Deb’s response: “you don’t buy them…you make them!” PA Committee: Huh – out of what!?! Deb’s response: Irrigation tubing – what else?
For those who know Deb it’s no surprise to hear her ambitious and inventive ideas. You see Deb knows a few things about kids, creativity and activities. She has been a teacher for more than thirty years and the founder of ARISE, A Recreational Inclusion Support Endeavor, whose mission is to support children with disabilities in accessing community and recreation activities with their able-bodied peers and in learning leisure and recreational skills they can enjoy throughout their lives. She also develops specialized equipment to assist children to be active.
So it was – BLEND made hula hoops out of irrigation tubing! With the generosity of The Home Depot Foundation and their Team Depot Crew – BLEND constructed more than 820 hula hoops and gave them away to kids attending the BLEND Kids Health & Fitness Expo on Friday, April 20, 2012!
With more than 2,400 kids and family members attending the expo you could only imagine the number of times the question was asked ”how did you make the hula hoops?” It’s crazy simple and anyone can do it – just follow the instructions below and in no time you will have your very own hula hoop!
How to Make Your Very Own Hula Hoop!
- 3/4″ 160 PSI NSF Pipe (irrigation tubing)*
- 3/4″ Poly Insert Coupling Connector (one per hula hoop)*
- PVC and plastic tubing cutter*
- Heat gun* or hair dryer
- Tape measure*
- Duct tape*
* Products found at your local Home Depot store.
1. Measure and Cut! Determine how big you want your hula hoop. BLEND made 9.5 foot hula hoops for the expo. Use a tape measure or a flexible sewing tape measure to mark the length of tubing. Cut with the tubing cutter.
2. Heat Tubing! Have your coupling insert nearby. You will need to heat the tubing so the coupling insert can easily slide in the tubing. Heat one cut end of the tubing with the heat gun. If using a construction heat gun you will only need to heat the tubing for 30 – 45 seconds. You will notice the tubing will turn glossy. Do not hold in one spot or the tubing will start to melt – move the heat gun around. If using a hair dryer be sure to set it at the hottest setting and heat for 2 – 3 minutes – again, moving the dryer around the end and along the surface of the tubing. Be careful – the tubing gets a little warm.
3. Insert Coupling! Once the tubing is heated it’s time to insert the coupling connector. Push the coupling piece into the tubing until it reaches the center marks. This may take some effort. If the insert doesn’t go in then simply continue to heat the tubing until the coupling piece slides in where it needs to be. Cool completely before proceeding to step 4.
4. Bring Together! You’re almost done. Now take the other end of the tubing and repeat steps 2 and 3. Heat tubing and slide the exposed half of the coupling insert into the tubing - trying to meet the ends. It’s not critical the ends meet as the duct tape will hide the seam.
5. Duct Tape! Once you have constructed your hula hoop and the tubing is cool it’s time to decorate. Cut (or rip) duct tape into 3-4 inch piece – tape the seam and decorate hoop. The Home Depot sells a huge assortment of duct tape from printed (leopard, checkered, flames, etc) to solids giving kids the option to decorate with flare or simplicity!
In the end, Deb Johansen gave BLEND an amazing idea – something that would get kids up and active…and, something that will last for years to come. For those who attended the Earth Day Run BLEND Kids Health and Fitness Expo - THANK YOU!!! BLEND looks forward to seeing you again next year! A little secret - Deb is already thinking of something new to give away to kids for next year’s event! Stay tuned!