|Parent/Child class enjoying the Stretchy Band!|
Hi! Miss Carole from Macaroni Soup back with my new-found favorite prop – the Stretchy Band! Ok, it may have been around for a while, but I just picked one up this summer and started working with it in my classes – it’s a BIG HIT!!!
Disclaimer – I am not in any way connected to the manufacturer.
Here’s the scoop:
I bought my Medium-sized band (10’) from West Music at the ECMMA national conference in Wisconsin. It sat in the bag until September rolled around. To my dismay, it came with little in the way of suggestions for use with children from the manufacturer, Bear Paw Creek. Actually, they ask for activity suggestions from users – a good idea! You can purchase the Stretchy Band from either company at the same price - $56 for the Medium. It’s an investment, to be sure – but worth it to me!
|Waa waa waah!|
I have found I can put 18 children around my medium band – more than that is quite crowded. But even 8-10 kids is very fun, too!
I have had great success with children 2 - 6 years old - you can, too!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The Wheels on the Bus with a Stretchy Band
Put the Stretchy Band on the floor, loosely forming a circle. Children sit cross-legged around the band, about 12 – 18” outside the band. On your instruction, they reach forward with one hand and grasp the band in front of them and pull it back to where they are sitting. Grasp band with both hands. Now you’re ready to sing and move – and the fun begins!
|windows - up and down!|
Sing “The Wheels on the Bus” as you know it, but with the following movements with the Stretchy Band:
1. wheels go round and round – move band in circles away from body – a rowing motion.
2. windows go up and down – move band up’n’down on the words “up” and “down”
3. doors go open and shut – lay back, sit up (yup, it’s sit-ups!)
4. wipers go swish swish swish – move hands from side to side
5. people get bumped around – shake it, baby, up and down - quickly!
6. babies cry waa waa waah – knock fists together, then apart quickly, 3 times
7. parents say sh! sh! sh! – while grasping band, hold up pointer finger to lips on the sh’s!
8. repeat first verse!
Some notes from experience:
- Keep the tempo reasonable, even slower than usual.
- Most children don’t have well-developed abdominal muscles, so “doors” will be challenging! Also, demonstrate how to lean back without knocking your head on the floor too hard!
- Stop between verses to demonstrate the next verse.
- Bring the controlled chaos of the “people get bumped” down by singing the “babies” verse a little sadly, then the “parents” verse in a hushed voice.
|doors - open and shut - whoa!|
I have found this to have similar skills and feel to parachute activities. OT/PT folks tell me it’s great with their populations, too! In my classroom, not a single child declined to participate – everyone has a blast.
Other activities I have tried: Standing inside the band facing out, we take a giant step away from the center, then let the band gently push us back in while sliding our voices from high to low. Then increase to two steps, repeat. I am just starting to add the use of recorded music for activities. The Stretchy Band is great for ocean waves, wind, etc.
If you have suggestions, please comment! One of my friends is trying to make her own band – I’ll let you know how that comes out when she figures it out!
Yours for a Stretching Song!