How To Use a Stretchy Band for Creative Movement
A guest post by Stephanie Leavell from Music For Kiddos
Have you ever used a Stretchy Band?
The Stretchy Band by Bear Paw Creek is one of my *favorite* creative movement props for early childhood music and therapy sessions. My favorite time to use it? Early childhood music groups! We can use it to work on different goals, movements, and to help our students get their wiggles or “sillies” out.
What is a Stretchy Band, you might ask? The stretchy band is exactly that, a big band that is flexible, stretchy and made with tubing and a soft, colorful fabric. It’s machine washable. Yeah… machine washable! And Bear Paw Creek’s stretchy bands are practically indestructible.
Play With Creative Movement
A stretchy band is a great way to PLAY with movement. Here are some of our favorite things to play with:
- in and out
- up and down
- above (i.e. above your head) and below (i.e. below your knees)
- making a circle or pedaling a bike with our hands
- fast and slow
- side to side
- open and close
Within this creative movement, we can also practice a steady beat and explore other rhythms. Visually, the stretchy band can reinforce discussions about space and boundaries (i.e. personal space).
Here’s a video by Kathy Schumacher, MT-BC, WMTR of TunefulTeaching.com using the Stretchy Band to teach literacy skills. Specifically, she is using the Stretchy Band to focus on the skill of alliteration (or “sound matching”), an important skill for learning to read. Along with the skill of alliteration, Kathy is using the Stretchy Band to teach “beat competence”, or the ability to move in a steady beat which matches the tempo of music.
“At the stage shown in the video, kids are being asked to generate a word. In earlier stages, kids may be asked to decide whether two words start with the same sound. For some, generating the word is actually easier.”
Fun and Engaging Movement Song For The Stretchy Band
I have my own fun and engaging movement song for the Stretchy Band that you can find on Music For Kiddo’s YouTube channel. It’s called “Stretch It Out”, and this fun, funky song supports a child’s creative movement while keeping them in a designated spot (“who is going to hold the red?”) and motivating them to work as a team!
There are other songs, too! Here are two songs by Music With Mar. for the Stretchy Band that you can find on Spotify.
So, what are YOUR favorite ways of using the Stretchy Band in your early childhood music groups?