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A resource center for teachers to enhance learning through integrating movement, exploration and mindfulness into classroom lessons. Many of the activities can be adapted to be used on a playground, at home, in the boardroom and beyond.

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Hot Lava 

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Short description of activity: Students have to work together to use resources to get the team from one side of a course to another without touching the ground.

Type of activity: Team Building

Minimum Time Needed for Activity:  45 minutes

Grade Level: 4th grade +

Subject Area: Team Building


  • Hula Hoops, carpet squares, and/or poly spots; 10-20
  • Foam Pool Noodles, foam balance beams (3-4 per group)
  • Rope or cones to define end zones

Set up:

  1. Define a beginning and end line at least 10’ apart. Use a larger space for larger groups.
  2. Randomly place hoops in the field between both end zones (shores). Make sure most of them are close enough that a noodle can touch two hoops, or the shore and a hoop, at the same time when laid down.
    1. make sure there is at least one ‘path’ from one side to the other. Make multiple dead-ends if possible.
  3. Students begin on one shore/end zone.


  1. Tell a compelling story about why students cannot touch the floor: 
    • volcano exploded and the floor is lava, 
    • you are on a space mission and you will otherwise float off into space if you step off of the space station structure, 
    • the team is trying to cross the Amazon River that is filled with piranha,
    • there was an accident in the cafeteria and the floor is covered with toxic marinara with giant raviolis and bread sticks floating in it, 
    • the floor is poisonous peanut butter and there are rice cakes and sticks of celery.
  2. Students may only stand on a noodle if it is supported on both ends by either a hoop or the “land,” it will not float nor can two noodles be linked together. Noodles may be moved. They must be handed off, not thrown.
  3. Hoops may not be moved.
  4. Students may stand in a hoop, and may only enter or leave a hoop by noodle- no hoop hopping. 
  5. If a student falls off a noodle or steps out of the hoop, they must return to the shore from which they came.


  • Add a rule that nobody may touch the far shore (end zone, spaceship, etc) until everyone is off the first shore. 
    • Harder: do the math which would require a few students to be on a noodle between hoops to get everyone off the shore. Let them figure it out on their own.
  • Blindfold a few students, or bind hands together.
  • Do not allow students to speak.
    • Harder: if they fall off, they must say a catchphrase before speaking: “Up, up, and away!”  “would you do it for a Scooby Snack?” “Gotta catch ‘em all” “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”
  • Limit how many people may be in a hoop at one time (some hoops are only 1 person, some 2).
  • Students must answer a question/spell a word correctly to move. If answered incorrectly, that student must wait until one (or more) other questions are answered correctly before they have the opportunity to answer and move again.
  • Objects in hula hoops to be gathered and brought together at end to solve a puzzle (arrowhead puzzle, pictogram, gather items that are related- leave ‘odd man out’ and be able to say why)
    • Harder: a student may only hold one puzzle piece at a time. They must be handed off, not thrown.
  • For larger classrooms have two ‘courses’ set up to have them running simultaneously as a competition. 
  • Have two teams going through same course in opposite directions… opposing teams have to develop a strategy to move quickly through while blocking others or working together to get each through.
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