15 Stretchy Band Music and Movement Favorites from Bear Paw Creek Customers

Back in December I had fun in our Bear Paw Creek Facebook Group showing gratitude to our customer with a month long giveaway!  

In one of the giveaways I gave away our newest addition to the stretchy band family, the primary set of 6 connect-a-stretchy bands.  To enter they shared how they would want to use a stretchy band, if they didn’t have one, and favorite music and movement ideas if they do use one.

I have finally put them together to share. I hope they bring some inspiration for new ways to use the stretchy band!

2018 Infographic Stretchy Band Music and Movement-1

15 Favorite Ideas from our Customers

 

These ideas all come from Bear Paw Creek’s Facebook Group.  I use this group to  offer special promotions, get feedback on new product development, and a place to get to know our customers more.  All of these ideas are credited right back to the people that suggested them!  Come join us using this link

I had fun creating a infographic and also a pdf file you can download and print. This will make it easy to share or save to your files for your easy access.

Stretchy Band Infographic 2018

List and Link to PDF

Here are the fifteen favorite suggestions and you can also choose to download the file to save. 

15 favorite music and movement activities with the stretchy band

1 – “Walkin’ Ol Joe” – The kiddos love to pull back and stretch on the Whoa!

2 – My favorite activities incorporate speech and language goals while working on range of motion, as well, with little ones.

3- Eldercare: It keeps everyone connected in a circle and we can make the stretchy band travel around the circle go up and down, side to side, etc. to increase range of motion and exercise. The connection concept is used for talking about the connections we have in life and how it changes over the years, from childhood into adulthood.

4- I love our stretch band and use it to teach directions to our preschoolers – while sitting we do forward and backward, up and down, side to side and freeze! The older ones do the exercises standing and moving around the circle. Our students love the colors and the stretchiness adds to the excitement in class!

5- One of our favorite activities with my older students is “Riding that Train” when all kiddos work together to walk/run the band though the classroom!

6- I rewrote the verse of Zum Gali Gali to include movement directions, this is especially useful for my younger preschoolers since it is very simple and includes a section for free movement.

7- I love my rainbow stretchy band. My early childhood groups sing “I’ve got a rainbow in my hand” to the tune of he’s got the whole world in his hands. We do color identification, movement, and body part identification with it.

8- Stretchy bands are great for any kind of circle dance, but I especially love using it for Lukey’s Boat with a rowing motion and asking kids to name colors to paint lukey’s boat.

9- My early childhood groups sing “I’ve got a rainbow in my hand” to the tune of he’s got the whole world in his hands. We do color identification, movement, and body part identification with it.

10- My kinders LOVE using the stretchy band with Jim Gills song “Took a Bath in a Washing Machine.” We use different motions for the verses, and then pass on the chorus!!

11- I love using a stretchy band for Lynn Kleiners “Waves”, and Artie Almeida activities! I use it to learn the note durations with the song Rocky Mountain too!

12- I use them for a song in Spanish. We all fall back on “Nooooo”. They also work very well to engage our students with Autism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX1Ngx-EY4

13-   The song is “If You’re Holding”  https://www.dynamiclynks.com/early-childhood-music

14- Pretending we are riding horses while listening to the William Tell Overture!

15- We love our connect a stretchy band for Wheels on the bus, row your boat, clippity clop, movin in a circle and a few more favorites. Our recent favorite was sliding circle jingle bells (like the kind made to hold and ring) onto the stretchy band and reconnecting the stretchy band and doing the Jingle Bells and Stop song by Miss Carole.

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal Part 2

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal                                                                                                                    Part 2 The Power of the Parachute

In this second installment of Magical Moments I wanted to build upon the activities and resources I shared with you in the first blog post on stretchy bands. As I mentioned earlier, I noticed there are few places where church choral directors can find music and movement activities, so I decided to develop and collect a set of activities to enhance my choir rehearsals.  I also have some fun ideas that can work well with either the stretchy band or the parachute in addition to some ways for you to make your own parachute. These activities will surely either turn you into a great parachute aficionado or get you excited to take out your favorite parachute!

Magical moments with parachutes are revealed when adult and children’s choirs team build together. Last year, I began having both of my choirs perform together. Overcoming their age differences was a concern until I had the inspiration to take out the parachute, then suddenly everyone was smiling, and helping each other. Afterward, the anthems the choirs sang together resounded as one choir rather than two!

Choir members of all ages can enjoy the benefits of using the parachute!

The Power of the Parachute                                                                       

ACTIVITIES for Adults and/or Children

Popcorn– Add balls and get  the balls off of the parachute without rolling them, balls that roll get tossed back onto the ‘chute.

Round the Universe– The choir members move one medium sized ball around the edge. Once the group gets comfortable going clockwise, change to counter clockwise, you will be surprised by the extra challenge for the ight handed people to go counter clockwise.

Mushroom– (for active adults) Everyone lifts the parachute high overhead and moves the edge behind their back and sit down simultaneously.

The adults enjoy this prop too, especially with the children. The children like the parachute even more with grown-ups because the adults lift it higher! For the adult choir the primary benefit of the parachute comes from working as a team. When considering making a parachute, keep in mind that creating a strong parachute is important for the adults, since they are stronger and will put more wear and tear on the prop.

Magical moments with parachutes are revealed when adult and children’s choirs teambuild together… Afterward, the anthems the choirs sing together will resound as one choir rather than two!

Activities- Children

He’s Got the Whole World– Have students run under the parachute by the calling out color they are holding, and the other students try to catch them by bringing the parachute down on the runner on the phrase “in His hands”.                                                                        

Genesis 3 Snakes– Put one individual-sized jump rope on the parachute and have choristers flutter the ‘chute while trying not to get bitten by the “serpent”! If they do get “bitten” (touched), they have to go underneath the parachute. While shaking the parachute the students can sing this call and  response song to the tune of Old John the Rabbit: O sneaky serpent, oh yes, Has a mighty habit, oh yes, of coming to Eden garden, oh yes, and tempting down the apples, Oh yes, and causing lots of troubles, Oh yes and if I live, to see next fall, there ain’t gonna be no garden at all.                                                                                                                                            

God Made the Stars– Ball up 10 pieces of paper and have the choristers flutter the parachute while trying to keep the stars in the parachute. Here is a rhyme they can chant:  God made the stars and God made me, whether I am here or there, He is close to me.    I’ve Got Peace like a River– Students can shake the parachute on each repetition of “River” in the song.                                         

Current Repertoire Run– Have students take turns dancing in place in the middle of the parachute while the group shakes the parachute up and down trying to knock them down.  The duration of the child’s turn in the parachute can be judged by the choristers singing the chorus of a recent anthem. Change the song for each turn or use the game to assist learning or memorizing a particular section by repeating the same section.

 

Activities for Stretchy Band or Parachute

Hymn Singing– Lift and lower the band or parachute as a group, showing a visual of the hymn’s melody line ascending and descending.

Solfege– Lift and lower the band or parachute up and down according to the pitch of the solfege syllables being sung.                             

Steady Beat– Bounce the band or parachute to the steady beat of a song, recording or rhyme.                                                                  

Pitch Matching– The choir director sings and moves stretchy band or parachute and choir members echo and mimic.  

How to Create a Parachute

Here are some guidelines for the size of parachute you will require: 12 adults/children will need at least a 12 foot parachute, for a group of 24 students a minimum of a 24 foot parachute or for 24 adults a 30 foot parachute would be best. 

For Makers on a Smaller Budget- On her blog “And Next Comes L”, Dyan Robson has a tutorial on how to make a small parachute using dollar store shower curtains that could cost as little as $5 and two hours of time.

For Maker with No Budget- Have someone donate a king sized sheet and sewing skills to alter it to a round shape.

 

I hope you have found some terrific ways to create magical, musically meaningful moments in your church choirs with parachutes and stretchy bands in this post! For my next blog post, I am looking forward to offering you some activities that will utilize scarves and ribbons to increase your groups’ understanding of their anthems.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She has a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory at Berkelee, 14 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

How To Use The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Stretchy Band in Creative Movement Activities

I am so excited to have gotten connected with Sandra from Sing, Play, Create a year ago.  I stumbled across her site from her blog post on the stretchy band.

She puts together amazing creative movement and music activities, and now she is sharing more innovative ideas, specifically with the connect-a-stretchy band.

We are also partnering up for a giveaway that will be worth over $200 in products!

Sing PLay Create Giveaway

Learn More About the New Resource for Connect-a-Stretchy Bands

I love this quote from Sandra:

Did you know that creative movement is the TOP solution to activating your students interest, helping them transition to music class and engaging them as learners.

WHY?

It’s more than “Brainbreaks”. Students need to develop Gross and Fine motor skills. They need learning opportunities that connect and use all senses. They also need opportunities to use their bodies to express music.

And YOU- Teachers need strategies to keep students engaged and learning.

If you are not familiar with the creative movement bundles that Sandra puts out – you are in for a real treat!

Here are a few snippets from her recent blog post:

 WHY CONNECT-A-BAND ACTIVITIES WORK
 
1 Provide opportunities to use large muscles to move and play games.
  • 1 Using both hands together in activities.
  • 2 Using arms and legs at the same time.
  • 3 Using Right and Left hands.
  • 4 Developing core stability and trunk rotation.
  • 5 Moving across the midline.

2 Provide social interaction opportunities.

3 Provide opportunities for the brain and body to work together.

4 Provide opportunities to burn off stress.

5 Provide opportunities to gain strength and confidence in the body and promotes an active lifestyle.

6 Promotes balance.

7 Provide opportunities to find joy in moving the body.

8- Provide opportunities to use fine motor muscles.

  • Activities that use only one hand reinforce and strengthen the dominant hand.
  • Using two hands in activities strengthens bilateral integration.
  • Strengthens fingers
  • Provides positive experiences using fine motor muscles.
[Tweet “NEW resources for the connect-a-stretchy band AND over $200 in prizes giveaway!”]

How To Use The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Stretchy Band in Creative Movement Activities

This brand new Creative Movement Activities resource includes eighteen (18) activities and directions, 55 Movement Cards including real pictures of real kids demonstrating how to use the bands and more ideas on how to use the bands in your classroom.

To get an idea of what’s in this 150+ page resource- KEEP READING! There are sixteen different ways to use this fantastic resource in your classroom.

1- CREATE SMALL GROUPS

Use to create smaller circle groups for games, folk dances and game songs like:

 “Doggie-Doggie Where’s Your Bone”

“Mouse, Mousie”

“Bluebird, bluebird”

WANT TO READ MORE?   Head over to her blog post ( you won’t be disappointed!): 

Sing PLay Create Innovative Connect-a-stretchy band

ENTER to WIN the following items!

A chance to win one of 4 connect-a-stretchy bands with Hub 8, a set of 24 bean bags, a Balloon Ball, and set of scarves from Bear Paw Creek.

The winners will receive a Stretchy Band Activity resource with ALL Activity directions a Free Activity Song from Sing, Play, Create.

CLICK the image below to ENTER!!! Winner will be drawn May 1, 2018.

Sing Play Create Bear Paw Creek April 2018 Giveaway

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

[THEMES] Winter: Music, Literacy, and More!

Shivering Snowman!

Get moving with these winter-themed activities!

Even if you don’t receive an inch of snow or temperatures below freezing, you can always dream up what winter feels like. Today in the Bear Paw Creek blog, we are focusing on winter-themed music, movement, and literacy activities for you to use in your music classes or music therapy sessions (or where ever you use music and movement!). We have also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in your planning.

Winter Song Playlist

Included on this playlist are some standards — Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride — but I also included some lesser-known songs that you can use at this time of year.

 

  • Winter Wonderland – Michael Buble
  • Jingle Bells – Laurie Berkner
  • Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson
  • A Marshmellow World – Dean Martin
  • Winter Song – Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
  • River – James Taylor (Sarah McLachlan has a really great version, too!)
  • The Skater’s Waltz
  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  • Winter Wind – The Piano Guys
  • Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
  • Let It Go/Winter from The Four Seasons – The Piano Guys/Vivaldi

 

The Skater’s Waltz

I mentioned The Skater’s Waltz last month in the Christmas-themed blog post (you can read it here). I love this piece of versatile music so much that I wanted to include it here, too. 

The Skater’s Waltz can be used in so many different ways. You can pull out your Stretchy Band or parachute and have your students or clients lift and lower right to the waltz beat of the music (for a total of 6 counts up, 6 counts down). Make sure you are keeping track of student/client fatigue with the movements and give them appropriate break times from the movement.

You can also take your Stretchy Band (my daughters’ music teacher calls it “Super Stretchy”), and have your clients or students mirror your movements. While stationary, you can move with a circling motion, a bicycling motion, as well as pulling, pushing, zig zagging, and stretching motions. Again, make sure you are watching for student/client fatigue. 

You can also use The Skater’s Waltz with your creative movement with scarves and streamers. You can even check out these neat winter-themed jingle streamersAnd don’t forget that there is a special winter balloon ball, too! So many music and movement possibilities!

[Tweet “Shivering Snowman! Grab these chilly winter music and movement activities! — via @BearPawCreek”] 

 

Snowball Fight

Last year, when the indoor snowball prop set was created, many of you shared your fun ideas. Janet and her family even had an indoor snowball fight in Missouri, where snow is rare! They included Jimmy Fallon’s Snowfight book in their activities. You can read Janet’s blog post here (it also includes a great activity idea from Carole of Macaroni Soup). 

Additional Resources

Rachel Rambach does it again! She created an awesome Winter Song Pack, especially for those working with younger children.

Amy from Wholesome Harmonies, LLC featured a Frosty Mad Lib on her blog — perfect for your elementary level kiddos.

This is one of my favorite go-to winter songs — My Snowmen (to the tune of This Old Man). It is super cute, engaging especially for younger kiddos. 

What winter-themed songs and activities are in your “go-to” stash? Have a fun time moving to the music suggested here, and STAY WARM! 

Written by: Julie A. Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

[THEMES] Christmas: Music, literacy, and more!

Christmas music to get you moving and grooving!

 

It’s December, and most likely your focus has been on incorporating holiday music into your lessons and sessions. It’s a festive time of year, and in my opinion, adding holiday music to your music lineup brings a lot of JOY to you and your students and clients.

Here at Bear Paw Creek, since we focus on music and movement, we wanted to highlight how you can incorporate movement in your music classes and sessions. We’ve also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in planning your sessions, lessons, or classes this holiday season.

 

Jingle Bells

Who doesn’t love the sound of jingle bells at this time of year? Besides the familiar Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock, you can use your jingle bells with lots of different Christmas songs, as well. Two favorites of mine are Silver Bells and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. These jingle bell scrunchies can be perfect to use when addressing fine motor skills, such as grasping. 

If you are looking to stretch your repertoire beyond Jingle Bells, however, SKS Music Therapy has it covered here in this blog post entitled appropriately “Past Jingle Bells: Three Ideas for Palate-Cleansing Christmas Music.” 

Music therapist Ryan Judd also covers a couple of easy to learn holiday songs for kids with special needs on his vlog — including using jingle bells. Watch his video here.

[Tweet “Christmas music music and movement ideas from @BearPawCreek here!”]

Stretchy Band & Connect-a-Stretchy-Band

When incorporating Christmas music with movement, you can’t go wrong with upbeat classics like Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. The Stretchy Band or Connect-a-Stretchy-Band are excellent props that you can use to support your student’s or client’s movements.

If you are looking to slow the tempo a bit and really focus on slow and controlled motor movements, you can always incorporate the slow jazz version of O Christmas Tree by the Vince Guaraldi Trio or White Christmas for your older adults.

If you work with older adults, Rachelle Norman, MT-BC blogged about some “fresh” music ideas. She shares her post here.

 

Bear Paw Creek Christmas Playlist 2017

Scarves & Streamers

Scarves and streamers are a perfect addition to your Christmas music sessions and classes.

Skater’s Waltz & Skating by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

These two selections are perfect for pairing with scarves (I like using shades of pink, blue, purple and white at this time of year). If you work with younger children, you can add paper plate skates! Take a simple white paper plate, have your kiddos step on them, “lace them up,” and skate away. This works best on carpet. 

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix

I really love this version of the Sugar Plum Fairy because of its’ strong beat. You can keep a steady beat with your streamers while having your clients or students mirror your movements. Read our post about why a steady beat is important. 

An activity extension is to take turns having different leaders and see the creative ideas come forth from your clients and students!

Songs in ¾ time

¾ time in music lends itself well to smooth, sweeping motions. Just think of your favorite waltz dance. Do you automatically start to sway to the beat? 

Grab your favorite scarves or streamers and sway, bounce, tap, toss and catch, roll, balance, and turn to these great selections that are in in ¾ time.

  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
  • Coventry Carol – Pentatonix
  • Away in the Manger
  • What Child is This?
  • My Favorite Things – from The Sound of Music

Special Downloads & Printables

Movement Action Cards

You can pair these great movement cards with a freeze song of your choice. These great, colorful, and fun movement cards from the Oopsey Daisy Blog are a favorite of mine for the early childhood crowd.

Download them here.

Activity Ideas Download 

Coast Music Therapy offers this great download of activity ideas that teach social, language, and motor skills. 

Download here.

 

Christmas + Literacy = A great combo!

There are so many great singable books that you can use at this time of year. I pull these books out every year with my own children, and we enjoy being snuggled together while singing these wonderful and beautiful books.

Click on each book image to purchase on Amazon. 

Little Drummer Boy – Ezra Jack Keats

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

Snowmen at Christmas – Caralyn Buehner

Jingle Bells – Iza Trapani

Take a look at some of our previous Christmas-related blog posts:

What are your favorite Christmas songs that you use in your music therapy sessions or music classes? 

And in closing, we hope you have a musical and wonderful holiday!

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the Creative Director of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website here: Serenade-Designs.com

Better Together Stretchy Band Song

 

The past Friday Megan Martin, MA, MT-BC of Healing Sounds Music Therapy messaged me about a new song she wrote to use with the stretchy band.  I am always excited about new music to share and the story behind this is pretty special. 

Her song “Better Together” is pretty special and is a great reminder that we all are truly better together!

 

 

Better Together song by Megan Martin for the stretchy band

Why Are We “Better Together”?

You can read the post and see the full video on their blog at Healing Sounds. 

But here is a quote by Megan, “I began to write “Better Together” a month ago, after the violence of Charlottesville, not too far from our office in Midlothian. I held my children a little tighter that day. I was saddened watching people tear each other a part. I wanted to help. The words, “better together”, resonated in a big way after that day. We are better together. I want my children to know, without a doubt, that my love will always surround them. With those sentiments, I put together a song about love for each other, as well as directional concepts, fine and gross motor movements, and tactile sensory integration. We sit together, in a circle, connected by a colorful band that cannot be broken. My love with always hold us together.” 

She also said she would be willing to share the sheet music.  You can email her here if you are interested: [email protected]

Below you will find the snippet of the video with the song.

[Tweet “We really are “Better Together”! Check out this great song to use with the stretchy band. “]

“Better Together” also sums up what I love about building an online Tribe.   Here we create and sew up the stretchy band that inspires creative movement and song writing – which then can by used by others to reach even more.  Connected together through a prop and music around the world!

We can all learn from this song, we ARE “Better Together”! 

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.
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