WINTHROP — Some local adults are rediscovering the art, joy and other benefits of play inside plastic hula hoops.

A group varying between five and 15 people has gathered for the last seven Sundays in Winthrop to hula hoop together, rediscovering – or in some cases discovering for the first time – the fun of spinning the hoops around their waists, an activity that seems to be making a comeback.

Faith Benedetti, organizer of the group, said she couldn’t successfully hula hoop when she was a kid. She first learned how to do it successfully at 48 and has been hooked ever since.

“As an adult, when I started to hula hoop, I felt like I was 12 years old,” she said. “I feel like, as an adult, we don’t have enough opportunities to play with other people.”

The group, which regularly hoops together at the Winthrop Middle School gymnasium, grew out of an informal “hula hoop jam” held on Friday evenings at Norcross Point on the shores of Maranacook Lake. Benedetti said 300 people participated over last summer.

Winthrop Recreation officials saw how popular the program was and offered Benedetti indoor space for six weeks over the winter, later extending it to nine weeks, as part of the “Winthrop Plays Outside” initiative. One more session is planned from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Winthrop Middle School.

A few kids have come with their parents, but most of the participants have been adults.

“My girlfriend made me. Well, encouraged me, I should say,” Bill Sullivan of Readfield said when asked why he started hooping with the group. “It’s good exercise. Especially for a big guy like me.”

Karol Worden of Winthrop said she hula hooped as a kid, but wasn’t very good at it. She said she was a little dubious when a friend suggested she try it again as an adult. But she said it is “a blast.”

She said her first time trying the hoop as an adult was spent primarily picking it back up and trying again. But she took one of Benedetti’s roughly 50 hula hoops home to practice and now, she said, “I do all right.”

Participants have ranged in age from 3 to 75. Noel Scott of Monmouth wasn’t even born when hula hooping had what was perhaps its previous peak of popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

She tried it as a child, but failed to get the hoop spinning around her, which she said was frustrating. She was spinning it around her midsection within 15 minutes or so when she tried it again as an adult.

She said the larger, heavier hula hoops Benedetti makes herself and brings along with a collection of the lighter, commercially-available ones are much easier to use.

Benedetti said the larger hoops are made from bendable plumbing tubing filled with water to add weight and wrapped in duct tape for grip. She agreed they are easier to use than the smaller commercial ones.

Benedetti said no one who has tried to hoop with the group has not been successful at it. She noted, however, that may not mean spinning the hoop around your body. She said spinning a hula hoop around your hand or parts of the body other than the waist are also ways to take part in hooping.

On Sunday, Scott combined hula hooping with her old hobby of baton twirling, something she did from elementary school into high school. She said she initially brought it in to the group’s hooping session as something else to do. But Benedetti was quick to suggest she do both at once. Scott said doing both at once is hard, but can be done if you try not to concentrate too much on one at the expense of the other.

Worden said she’s not sure why the activity seems to be seeing a resurgence of interest among adults.

“Maybe we’re just at an age where we want to relive that, touch that bit of childhood again,” she said.