Stretchy Bands

Singing for Autism Shares Stretchy Band Movement Guide

This post has been updated February 2, 2017

 

 

Back in 2012 I stumbled across a blog written at by Singing for Autism.  This website has since been taken down, so I am extra glad I shared what she wrote.  This was the first blog post I had found that someone wrote about Bear Paw Creek’s stretchy band.   

I was thrilled to see the picture (which is now gone)  and read her review. Hope it gives you some more ideas what you can do with your clients or kids with the stretchy band!

Here are some of the key points she shares below:

  • Beat Competency (micro/macro beats)
  • Spacial Awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Socialization
  • Circle Dances

Stretchy Band Inspiration for movement, spacial awareness, beat competency

Stretchy Band

This week I want to share different instruments and props that I feel are must haves in the music classroom! The first is the stretchy band, a fun prop that will get the students and adults in the classroom participating.

There are 4 different sizes:

Stretchy Band SIzes Rings

You can use the stretchy band with songs, chants, or recorded music. Everyone holds on, I encourage two hands, and bounces the stretchy band to the beat. I place the paraprofessionals either near students who need help keeping the beat or evenly around the circle. The wonderful thing about the stretchy band is that students are forced to keep the steady beat, since it is very hard to go against the direction the band is going. For example, holding it down when everyone is lifting it up takes a lot of energy!

For the microbeat, we simply bounce the band on our lap. I hold my hands farther apart on the band so that my hands don’t tap my lap, only the band does.

For the macrobeat, we do a variety of movements:

  • Lift up over your head for one beat and down to your lap (or the floor) for the next
  • Reach in the circle for one beat and back to your lap for the next
  • Pull back like you’re rowing a boat for one beat and back to your lap for the next
  • Reach in the circle for one beat and back like you’re rowing for the next

I often switch between microbeats and macrobeats for each repetition of the song/chant. That gives you 8 repetitions! Then, sometimes I’ll have the students move their chairs back for more tension and we’ll do it again – easily 8 more repetitions! The stretchy band is a great way to introduce a new song or chant and is great for developing beat competency and spatial awareness. It also encourages teamwork and socialization.

[Tweet “Stretchy Band is a great way to introduce a new song/chant and for developing beat competency, spatial awareness, teamwork, socialization.”]

Circle Dances

You can also use the stretchy band when practicing circle dances. Have the students hold the band as they walk around the circle. It gives a visual cue for the students as they walk around the circle. Also, you can play around with shapes for a great spacial awareness activity. Have some students walk in, others walk out, some hold it high, and some hold it low.

Stretchy Band and La Puerta Abierta preschool in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

I have both the medium and large stretchy bands and will be purchasing some personal ones this year so that I can work individually with the students. I use it with students of all ages. It is definitely a popular activity!

Click here to learn more about Bear Paw Creek’s stretchy bands.

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.

Save

Save

Save

Stretchy Band Activities Round Up

Stretchy Band Activities Round Up

 

 

Every few months I like to do a search to see if anyone has written any new blog posts on using the stretchy band.

I am always excited to find one and also humbled. It’s a humbling thing to see something that you’ve created and sewn up, used by someone else.  It is usually used as a teaching tool and brings happiness and fun in the process.

This will be a round up of the posts I have found this year. Thank you to all that take the time to share so others can learn and be inspired!

The Many Names of the Stretchy Band

  • Rainbow Scrunchie
  • Mr. Stretchy
  • Rainbow Ring
  • Stretchy Band
  • Rainbow Elastic

Do you call it something different?  I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

On to the great round up!

[Tweet “Check out this round up of stretchy band blog posts from around the world!”]

Bumpin’ Down the Hill in My Little Red Sled by Toneworks Music Therapy

Sticky Bubblegum from Fairy Twins Book Time

From Magical Movement Company

  • Singing “The Old Grey Cat” song
  • Stepping to the Beat & Clapping Rhythms
  • “Bouncing” rhythm patterns with our “Giant Rainbow Elastic!”

Look what we can do with a giant rainbow elastic

Stretching Learning with Stretchy Bands by Sing Play Creatively

Using a Giant Scrunchie by Rhythm Express

Seven Jumps by Mrs. Miracle Music Room

Hope you enjoy this round up! If you have a blog or share things please comment or email Janet at [email protected]

Save

Save

Like to be featured on our blog?

BPC is Looking for Guest Bloggers

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.

Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

Stretchy Band Movement Prop, Music, and Dementia

 

 

A few years ago we went with our neighbor’s to a local assisted living facility. Caroline’s Dad lives there, and they head over once a month with their guitar, banjo, voices and meet some friends to put on a show for the residents.

 

Some of our children were able to join in the band that night, while some of us joined the audience. Music is a universal connector of people, isn’t it?

 

One lady in particular could sing every song, and belt it out perfectly.  Yet – once the music stopped, it’s as if her brain froze. 

 

The power of music on the brain fascinates me. I am so glad there is more research being done and those of you that are working  to bring care and awareness.

 

This post will showcase some ways you can use the stretchy band in dementia care.

Music Stretchy Band Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band and Dementia

The Connect-a-Stretchy Band from Bear Paw Creek, is a staple in my bag of tricks! I love it because it can be used with all age groups to meet a variety of goals.  An indispensable feature is that it can be re-sized easily and immediately to fit the size of your groups.  One of my favorite places to use the Connect-a-Stretchy Band is with my groups who have dementia. I often walk into these facilities to find people sitting together in a room, but not interacting with each other.  They may be sleeping, watching t.v., confused, depressed or irritable.  The Connect-a-Stretchy Band is an invaluable tool to help clients who have difficulty socializing, become engaged and “connected” to others.

After a warm up period of singing familiar songs and perhaps, a Hello, song, I introduce the Connect-a-Stretchy Band.  While sitting in a circle with everyone holding it, I strum the autoharp to encourage gross motor movements – up & down, in & out, side to side.  We’ll move and sing to familiar songs like Edelweiss or Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  I also use recorded music so I can also participate and help guide movements.  People who are sleeping or perhaps confused, are automatically connected and supported by their neighbor’s movements. It’s not unusual to see clients wake up, begin smiling and singing. It’s important to remember to keep movements simple and take into account health issues that may impact their abilities such as arthritis. However, once they hear a favorite song or dance, you may find your clients moving to the beat in ways they haven’t in years.

Head on over to Rhythm Works Music Therapy and see the rest of Linda’s ideas (including some polkas!)

 

[Tweet “@RhythmWorksMT shares the way they use the stretchy band with dementia care.”]

Is Music the Key to Trigger Memories?

This beautiful article features the stretchy band in use at an amazing event in August 2016.  The workshop was created by Marigrace Becker of the Memory and Brain Wellness Center, part of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute. Its underlying purpose, she said, is to empower people living with memory loss and their care partners to become social activists in raising  in community awareness. 

Activities were designed for people of all ages and abilities. In a seated circle dance led by Susan Wickett-Ford of Silver Kite Community Arts, everyone held onto a stretchy band of rainbow-colored fabric, which they moved up and down and side to side to a classic Breton folk song. The circle’s members had to work together and rely on each other to maintain the dance.

Life with dementia_ Seniors expand children’s awarenessBrain wellness center creates workshop to enhance community understanding and empower people with memory loss

I agree wholeheartedly with Becker when she states: “Ultimately, I want to see more and more of these workshops happening all around the world, simultaneously,” Becker said. “The time has come to recognize that people living with memory loss can lead the way in building communities that are welcoming, understanding and accessible to all.”

Take a moment to see some clips from their day. Truly inspiring.

 

Movement, Dance, and Dementia Resource

From professional papers to advice and music resources, you may want to take a look at this “Movement, Dance and Dementia Resources” page. 

A few highlighted quotes from the article:

There is a growing recognition that exposure to the arts can help dementia sufferers to reconnect with themselves and even slow their rate of decline. Increasingly, music is helping doctors and carers reach those who have become stranded by this debilitating condition.

These 60-minute sessions reveal previously hidden aspects of the patients to their carers; likes and dislikes, talents and memories – it all helps piece together the jigsaw of an identity obscured by illness. “Perhaps that patient reveals a love for a film or a place, a time or an event; something that carers didn’t know about but can use in their communication with that patient, another way to connect with a seemingly closed personality. It’s a glimpse of the real person underneath,” said Meynell.

Some of the movement props suggested are: scarves, feathers, stretchy bands, parachutes, balloon, hats, and fans. 

I hope this post will encourage your engagement with sufferers of dementia.  I hope we can continue to integrate the aged with the young, we all benefit greatly from multi-generational activities.

Save

Learn about stretchy band sizes and options.

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.

Save

Movement Prop & Musical Instrument Organization

Organizing for traveling music therapists, educators, caregivers, and professionals

 

 

As a traveling professional, organizing on the go is a must. Your vehicle serves as your office, lunch room, and closet all at the same time.

In part 2 of this organization series, we explore the intricacies of being a traveling professional who travels from site to site.

You can read part 1 here.

 

organizing-traveling-professionals-blog-post-sm

Practical considerations for traveling professionals:

  • Utilize a large tote bag for your various materials and for your larger instruments like hand drums, paddle drums, sound shape drums, tambourines, and all of the accessories (BONUS TIP: I recommend contacting a vendor who sells Thirty-One bags and accessories – they have a nice selection of sturdy bags of all sizes that may hold your materials, instruments, and movement props very well)
  • Organize your smaller materials, like small rhythm instruments, streamers, and scarves, in totes and bags — doing this makes it super simple to grab what you need right in the middle of a session or class
  • Use a rolling cart, rolling luggage, or even a wagon (more on this in a bit!)
  • Find and use a good quality gig bag for your guitar and invest in a Guitten
  • Use a BoomTote to keep all of your Boomwhackers together instead of letting them roll all over the car trunk

[Tweet “Are you a traveling professional? Organization tips and tricks via @BearPawCreek: “]

 

Getting from Point A to Point B: 

Transporting all.the.things from place to place can be a tricky job! 

Rolling carts are always a plus — two traveling music therapists share their favorite traveling accessories below: 

Just Keep Rollin’
Jody Tucker of Access Music Therapy, LLC in Duluth, MN, shares her favorite rolling bag, her visuals, and other cool materials she can keep in her HUGE travel bag…pssst, think ocean drum!

Bumping Up And Down in an EasyGoWagon
Linda of RhythmWORKS Music Therapy, LLC in Chicago, IL, shares her favorite music wagon – and it’s easily foldable and carries a ton of equipment. Check out her post!

Additional things to help you along your way:

  1. Phone and phone charger
  2. Podcasts (for when you are stuck in traffic or have a longer commute between sites)
  3. Mileage log or app
  4. Voice memo app (for when you think of a great idea, you can quickly record it for future use)
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. A good ice scraper/snow brush or sunshade for your vehicle
  7. Umbrella

Katey of On a Good Note has written an entire Traveling Music Therapist blog series on apps, podcasts, and tips just for traveling music therapists. Check it out!

Take care of your vehicle:

Carve out time to take care of your car. Get regular oil changes and car washes, vacuum all of the seats and trunk, and throw away all the coffee cups.

Also, take some time to organize all of your materials. This is the most important step. As I wrote in Part 1 of this series, having an organized space certainly makes your life as a therapist, educator, or professional much easier.

Be flexible as a traveling professional:

Amy Buser, music therapist and owner of Wholesome Harmonies, LLC, in Miami, FL, shares about the one day she forgot all of her materials for her music therapy sessions. She relied on her music therapy training, as well as her spontaneous creativity to get through the day. 

And finally, a little humor to lighten your way:

 

mt-meme-bpc

Do you have a great organizing tip or resource for those professionals who travel frequently? Please share in the comments below.

Written by: Julie 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. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

One Dozen Back to School Game Ideas!

Back to school ideas for moving and learning.

I’m a home-schooling mom and a free-lancing writer. I don’t love to be in charge, but I have to be, so I step up to the plate (because I love my kids). I’m so thankful for teachers who step up to the plate and pour their lives out for children everyday. You inspire me.
 

 

 

 

Ready to get back to school? I’m sharing games that help kids learn.

We all know how important movement and play are in children’s development, but with so much to learn it’s easy for our children to spend too much time trying to sit still.

Why fight their need to squirm?

Learning facts: Make it fun!

When my boys were young they memorized a whole host of math facts by playing Math Adventures (which came with our new computer), then a Reader Rabbit game on the computer. The games were intriguing and each had a quest to be accomplished. They were colorful and filled with humor as well. That was years ago, now people use apps and online games.

Yet, with all of the apps and online educational games out there, I still haven’t found something for their younger sisters to enjoy which quite matches up to the fun and learning value. I’m sure it’s out there, but for now, I’m going with a different approach to help make memorizing facts fun.

I’m going with movement and active play as one of the tools in my box. 

I’ve made up some games we can do (inside or outside) and I’m sharing them with you. All you need are bean bags, some sidewalk chalk, and Bear Paw Creek’s wonderful Connect-a-Stretchy Bands.

[Tweet “All you need are bean bags, sidewalk chalk, & Bear Paw Creek’s Connect-a-Stretchy-Bands.”]

Here’s what you can do with the stretchy bands, bean bags & chalk!

Learn your facts with hopscotch.

Draw a hopscotch grid on your sidewalk and fill in the squares with facts that you’re memorizing together. As you hop on the squares recite the facts written on the square you’re hopping to. You can use this for:

  1. Skip counting to help with multiplication tables. For example 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18…
  2. Addition and subtraction (you could arrange the squares so that you have two squares (with addends) followed by one with the sum etc.
  3. Historical facts and names from one lesson. Alternatively, you could arrange events in a timeline on your grid giving two squares to major events and give pause and emphasis as you say those.
  4. A process such as the process of evaporation, rain, water flowing from springs and rivers etc.
  5. Creating grid for storytelling. In the first grid write, “beginning”, followed by “who/protagonist,” where,” “what”, then use two squares and write “problem/antagonist,” followed by, “struggle” then maybe “comic relief,” “climax,” and resolution. And let each of the kids take turns telling a story using your hopscotch storyboard. Let them be silly or serious, and you should take a turn as well. It’ll be good for you.

Learn Facts with Hopscotch

 

Bean bag math.

  1. Preschool: To help make counting fun, snap the Connect-a-Stretchy Bands into individual rings and toss bean bags into them. Now count together to see how many you were able to get into the rings. Now try tossing two in each ring and count all of those bags with them. Continue with other variations.
  2. Basic Addition and Subtraction: Set up two rings and let your students toss some in each ring. Have your students create an addition problem using the bags in the rings. This is a great way to reinforce the concept of which numbers add up together to make ten. You toss some in the first circle and let them decide how much they need in the next to make ten. To practice subtraction, remove the bean bags from one circle and ask them to use a math formula to describe what happened.
  3. Visual Multiplication and Division: Using the stretchy band rings, ask the students to toss 9 bean bags into three of the rings making sure to have an equal amount in each. Now explain that 9 divided into 3 is like saying 9 divided into 3 groups. Ask them to take turns making more examples and explaining them to you (4 rings with 12 bean bags). For a change put one ball in each of the rings with the bean bags and ask them if they can figure out a way to describe the fraction of items in the rings which are a ball and not a bean bag.
  4. The simplest, yet most enjoyable game:  Have the students team up in pairs and practice counting or skip counting while they toss the bean bags back and forth to each other. 

tbt-19

Stretchy band skip-counting and memory facts.

  1. Introduction to Skip-Counting: First, take Bear Paw Creek’s wonderful Connect-a-Stretchy Bands and join them into one large ring. Have the students arrange themselves equal distance around the ring. Explain that you are going to count while emphasizing certain numbers as you count by raising up the stretchy band above your head. Tell them to follow your lead and see if they can figure out the pattern. Now you can say, “1,2,3,4, [raise the stretchy band] 5, [back down] 6,7,8,9, [up] 10, [down] 11, 12,13,14, [up] 15.” Once they catch on to what you’re doing, ask them if they think they would be able to speed it up a bit. As they get the hang of that, try using other numbers to do the same thing.
  2. Skip-Counting Team Work: In this game, each person takes a turn saying the next number in skip counting (with the teachers coaching the first few times, if necessary). For Instance, the first student says 2 while raising up his portion of the stretchy band above his head, the next student says 4 and so on. A more complicated version (when they’re skip-counting with odd numbers) would be to raise it for the odd numbers and push it down for the even ones. Like this, “3 [up] 6 [down] 9 [up] 12 [down]. See whether your students can figure out why this works while skip counting with odd numbers but not even.
  3. Memorizing Facts: You can use this method for reciting grammar facts, historical dates or parts of a plant as well. Moving the body as you recite facts helps your brain retain the information, so it’s very useful to do even simple motion such as swinging your arms together to move the stretchy band as you recite. Also the is movement is such a relief to kids who have a hard time concentrating when the are still for too long a period.

1-2-3-Counting-with-the-Stretchy-Band.jpg

 

 

 

Save

I’ve gotten the props that I need to do any of these activities on hand from Bear Paw Creek and I’m ready to go this year.

I imagine you’ve got sidewalk chalk or can easily find that, but if you don’t have Bear Paw Creek’s colorful Bean Bags or Connect-a-Stretchy Bands, then now is a great time to get them! 

What are your favorite ways to use the stretchy band and bean bags to enhance learning? Do you have any tips to share as we celebrate going back to school?

5 Ways to Use a Stretchy Band

My Fab Five

Written by: Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC, owner and founder Dynamic Lynks Alyssa is a passionate Autism provider, Board Certified Music Therapist, music educator and adaptive yoga instructor.

This post is all about my 5 favorite ways to use a stretchy band in my sessions, groups, and classes. The stretchy band is an extremely versatile tool and I have seen music therapists use it in a variety of ways. Janet herself has an amazing guide of 21 activities to do with the stretchy band. My measly 5 may be small in comparison, but they are always a hit at my holistic therapy center!

5 Steps to Use Your Stretchy Band

  1. To Make a Circle

This may seem very common sense, but this is one of my favorite ways to use a stretchy band in session. Using the stretchy band makes the circle visual and tangible. I can then instruct clients to sit behind a specific color to fill-in the circle. You can either have the clients sit behind the stretchy band, or have them wrap it around, and behind their backs, for support while seated.

Stretchy Band in Action

  1. One-on-One

If I am working with a client one-on-one, I like to use the stretchy band for sensory integration interventions. The push and pull of the stretchy band can help provide both vestibular and proprioceptive input to clients who may be sensory seeking. One way I do this is first by wrapping the stretchy band around myself and the client, twice. While sitting facing each other with the stretchy band around us, I begin to sing “row, row, row your boat.” While singing the song, we both rock back and forth, myself pushing forward while the client pulls back, then the client pushing forward while I pull backwards. This provides deep pressure input on the back and arms while pulling, as well as vestibular input from the rocking motion.

Stretchy Band Joy

[Tweet “Who knew the stretchy band could be such a strong metaphor for life?” Alyssa Watkins MT-BC]

3.   As a Group

The stretchy band is probably most fun in a group setting, but that is one woman’s opinion. There are so many ways to use the stretchy band as a group, but one of my favorites is while playing London Bridge. I instruct one group member to help me hold the stretchy band and the other group members to create a line behind the band. Myself and my helper wrap the stretchy band so it creates a small circle. We then hold up the small circle and I instruct the other group members to walk under the band and around, single-file. I begin singing “London Bridge” as the group walks under the stretchy band. When I get to the line “my fair lady,” I replace lady with the group member who is under the band at that time. Myself and my helper lower the stretchy band and trap whoever is under the band. While singing “take the key and lock her up” we gently rock the person in the stretchy band back and forth, or front and back. When I sing “my fair lady” again, we release the trapped group member!

4.  To Practice Counting

Learning to count can be challenging for children of all ages and abilities. The stretchy band may not seem like your go-to counting tool, but it is one of mine! First, I have my clients stand in a circle, wrap the stretchy band around their backs, and hold on with both arms. I remain on the outside of the circle so I can lead the intervention. I begin strumming a strong, rhythmic beat and have the group bounce the stretchy band to the beat. I walk around the circle and count each group member in the circle with the beat. This is so I know what number to use in the song, but also so the other group members can have a visual representation of the number being sung and practice their counting skills. I then begin singing one of the many counting songs I use in sessions. For this example, I will refer to “Alice the Camel” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmchQjTqn0U). You could also use “Five Little Monkeys” or any original counting song you have. “Alice the Camel” uses the lyrics “Alice the camel has 5 humps, Alice the camel has 5 humps, Alice the camel has 5 humps so go Alice go!” If I have ten group members, I will sing 10 humps instead of 5. When I get to the line “go Alice go” I have the group lean back on the stretchy band and I choose one group member to let go of the stretchy band and drop to the floor. I then have the group count the remaining number of people in the circle with me to the beat. I continue this process until Alice has no more humps (when there are no more people standing). The song ends with “Alice the camel has no humps, Alice the camel has no humps, Alice the camel has no humps, because Alice is a horse!” I find this line hilarious, I may even like it more than the kids do! I love using this song and the stretchy band to work on counting because it teaches an academic skill though movement, it is constantly engaging, and provides sensory input to clients who need it.

1-2-3-Counting-with-the-Stretchy-Band.jpg

5.   For Yoga

I am not just a music therapist. I am also a yoga instructor, and I LOVE using the stretchy band for my children’s yoga classes. I use the stretchy band in group warm ups all the time. Sitting on our mats in a circle with our legs straight in front of us, we all grab on to the stretchy band and slowly lower ourselves to the ground for a count of 8. We then have to pull ourselves up while slowly counting to 8. The stretchy band provides a small amount of resistance, which helps to engage the core. The band also gives the kids a feeling of safety because they are able to hold onto something as they move their bodies in new ways. This comes in very handy when we are doing poses like tree, warrior 3, and eagle, which are all balance poses. While standing in the circle, we hold the stretchy band taught and flow into tree pose, warrior 3, or eagle. The band helps provide some support to aid in balancing and it also gives us a sense of community, because we all have to work together to hold each other up. With my older kids, I use the stretchy band to teach that lesson. If one person lets go, we could all fall. We have to work together to overcome new challenges. It also helps show that sometimes we need support to try new things and succeed. Who knew the stretchy band could be such a strong metaphor for life?

Save

These are just some of the ways I use my stretchy band every week. If you do not have this tool in your arsenal, you definitely need to get one! The stretchy band can be used with many age levels and abilities, which comes in very handy in my practice. I specialize in the treatment of children with autism, and the stretchy band can be used to meet so many of my clients’ needs. It can be used for sensory integration, academic and social skill development. It aids in gross and fine motor development, which are all crucial goal areas I work on every day. I am so glad I could share these interventions with you, and I hope they come in handy with your kids and clients!

 


There are no products