Eight-year-old C.J. Hildenbrand of Longview used a hula hoop for the first time Saturday, improving his staying power with each twist at the Kidsview playground at Lear Park.
“I like to walk while hula hooping because it is a challenge,” C.J. said.
He kept the hula hoop in the air for several seconds and bragged that he could keep it aloft for a minute.
His mother, Chelsea Hildenbrand, was skeptical.
“A minute?” she asked. “I don’t know about that.”
She timed C.J., who indeed accomplished the feat.
Chelsea Hildenbrand, who moved with him to Longview three weeks ago from Minneapolis to be closer to family, said she took her son to the playground to take part in the Longview Parks and Recreation Department’s monthly Rec & Roll event after the department posted about it on Facebook.
While sitting at a covered picnic table as children played, Hildenbrand said Rec & Roll was “something fun to do outside and be active.”
The Parks and Recreation Department has been hosting Rec & Roll at different parks each month beginning in January to encourage the public to visit the facilities, said James Ward, program coordinator with the department. He added that staff rescheduled the event for Saturday at Kidsview because rain led to its cancellation there in April.
Ward said the event featured a variety of games, and children were urged to stamp a card at each visit to Rec & Roll to qualify for prizes in December. The grand prize is a big game set.
Some children and parents arrived at the playground Saturday not knowing Rec & Roll was taking place, and they were not disappointed.
Julian Flores, 12, of Longview said he attended a birthday party for a 6-year-old cousin, Kelton Hamblen, of Longview, at a nearby picnic table.
“It’s really good for little kids, and it’s fun for me because they had things for bigger kids, too,” Julian said.
He said he used a huge slingshot to aim plastic balls into a ball pit.
Afterward, sisters Madison, 5, and Mayleigh Wilkes, 1, of Longview played in the ball pit.
Their mother, Jennifer Wilkes, said she took the children to the park for the birthday party and was unaware of Rec & Roll.
Wilkes said the event was “pretty cool. It is just something you can do for kids.”
Her niece, Edyn House of New London, used a large wand to blow bubbles from a tube, and a light wind carried the big bubbles for several feet until they popped.