The Airplane Song with the Connect-a-Stretchy Band

Using Props to Connect with Children

The longer I have worked as a music therapist, especially in the early childhood setting, the more I appreciate the value of movement props like those created by Bear Paw Creek! I feel like they have really added to the fun and learning and promoted positive social experiences in both my childcare and community-based early childhood music classes.

Both of these settings require that I find a way to engage children of a range of ages, personalities, and developmental levels. From a music therapist perspective and as an advocate for inclusion, I love that props do not require language skills to be used or enjoyed. Children who are very young or otherwise non-verbal can still successfully engage with the group without having to speak. You can promote choice by giving a child the option between different color scarves and encourage self-expression by recognizing how a child interacts with a scarf (Sarah is waving hers up high!).

Stretchy Band Airplane Ride

Since receptive language develops before expressive language, both verbal and non-verbal children can learn or practice directional words as the group leader or their caregiver asks them and models how to move their scarves up, down, in front, behind, etc. For the children who are verbal, it gives them a chance to tell you about what color they have, how they are moving it, or what body part it is covering.

Stretchy Bands Can Also Promote Social Interaction in a Low-Stress Way

A tool like the connect-a-band or stretchy band can also promote social interaction in a low-stress way.   During a classic favorite like Ring Around the Rosie, some children simply are not comfortable holding anyone’s hand other than their caregiver. A connect-a-band not only helps structure the movement by making a natural circle, it literally “connects” the group members with each other without the pressure of physical touch.

Stretchy Band Joy

For children with sensory issues, this is also a plus as it provides social interaction, interesting sensory input, and can be a pre-curser to physical contact like holding hands. I love the flexibility that the connect-a-band can be used in both large and small group settings. When used during the song Row Your Boat, I’ve seen it build interpersonal connections among the numerous participants of a family music and literacy event or simply the more intimate bond between a parent and child.

Row Your Boat Stretchy Band

[Tweet “Stretchy bands help structure the movement by making a natural circle, it “connects” the group without the pressure of physical touch.”]

“Rocket Ship Run” and “Airplane Song” Activity Suggestion

I find myself planning the use of movement props into almost every group, whether it be the connect-a-band, scarves, bean bags, streamers, parachute, or balloon ball. When children have something literally in their hand, it makes music an even more “hands-on” experience, and what better way to learn than through doing!

Most recently, I used scarves and the connect-a-band with some Laurie Berkner Band Songs during a transportation theme. The scarves were our rockets that went “blast off!” into the air during “Rocketship Run” and helped us creatively move during the dancing portion.

For “The Airplane Song,” the connect-a-band served as our airplane, as we went to see the world, practiced getting in and out, took turns leading, and moved in lots of fun ways!  You could use a big connect-a-band for a large group or single ones for “family planes.”

[Tweet “I want children/families to feel like an integral part of the group, not just an audience and props are an amazing way to facilitate that!”]

From Janet at Bear Paw Creek.  I hope you enjoyed this fabulous post from Sarah!  Leave a comment and show her some love  🙂  Also, I am looking for more wonderful people to share their creative genius.  Contact me below if you’re interested.

12 + 10 =

St. Patrick’s Day Music and Movement

St. Patrick’s Day Music and Movement Inspiration

For the last month I have been on the hunt for St. Patrick’s Day fabric.  For awhile I thought I was hunting the elusive four leaf clover, or even worse that rascally leprechaun!  I prevailed and finally found a fun print to turn into a balloon ball.  Building lessons and activities around a holiday is one of my favorite things to do with the kids.  So here’s some of what we are doing this year.

BONUS: leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Ball!

Music and Movement Fun

So many of Bear Paw Creek’s products are rainbow colored, so they fit right in with the rainbow and elusive pot of gold.  One of our favorites to use with the stretchy band or rainbow ribbon streamers is Miss Carole’s “Rainbow ‘Round Me.”  It’s particularly fun to be inside the stretchy band (rainbow) while listening to the verbal cues of raising your colored section up.

Here is a fun list of Celtic songs to get moving with. Use a balloon ball to play hot potato, dance, use movement props of scarves and streamers.

Linda from Rhythm Works Music Therapy shares her ideas and the fun song, “Macnamara’s Band” in this post

[Tweet “An Irish Proverb: May all your troubles be little ones and all your little ones be trouble free.”]

St. Patrick’s Day Art

I attempted to make finger paints for the kids, as it’s been awhile since we’ve finger painted, but either the recipe or the maker had issues!  Have a recipe to share you like?  Please do!

Instead, we used peppers and potatoes to make shamrock prints.

Potato and Pepper Shamrock Prints

Next week we will enjoy making rainbows and pots of gold.  Here is a link from Make and Takes that we will choose from.

Remember to leave a comment to have a chance to win!  Share your finger paint recipe or your favorite St. Patrick’s Day fun.

There are a few available for sale as well.


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