Singing for Autism Shares Stretchy Band Movement Guide
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
- Circle Dances
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:
- Personal: for 1 or 2 people
- Medium: for 5 to 8 people
- Large: for 8 to 11 people
- Extra Large: for 11 to 14 people
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.
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.
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.