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Strengthening, Body Awareness, Motor Control and More

Looking for a fun, novel activity that encourages muscle strengthening, body awareness, motor control, timing and more?  You have to check out the Stretchy Band™ from BearPawCreek.com.  I was given a free medium size Stretchy Band™ and a Connect-A-Band to use for this blog post.  Each Stretchy Band™ comes in a drawstring bag making it easy to pack it up.  This is a wonderful tool to add to your pediatric OT or PT bag. 

The Stretchy Band™ is essentially some resistive tubing encased in colorful fabric.  The wonderful thing about it is that kids can pull and pull on it but if you let go it does not hurt.  You can use it with one child or a group of children.  For a group of children work on various exercises and motor commands – lift the band up, down, move in and out, pull and walk in a circle, walk backwards, etc.  All of these actions are met with some resistance to the muscles.  You could think up many games incorporating the colors of the band i.e. everyone hold the band up overhead.  If you are holding a red part of the band squat down but don’t let go of the band.  You do need a significant amount of space to use the band with a group such as a gym or outdoors.  With the Connect-A-Band you can connect the stretchy bands together to make a very large stretchy band.

Try it with one person for some resistive exercises.  Here the child is stepping on the band and pulling up in different directions working the upper and lower extremities along with the postural muscles.  This can be completed in smaller spaces. 

Here an adult is holding one end of the Stretchy Band™ while the child walks to retrieve an item on the ground.  The child has to concentrically contract the muscles against the resistance to walk to the object and eccentrically contract the muscles to control the body when returning to the starting position.  Another option, is to have the child walk backwards against the resistance (excellent to work the extensor musculature) and then control the motion to return to start.  This is loads of fun for the child – they called it “bungee jumping standing up”.

Try some partner work with the Stretchy Band™.  The kids can play some tug of war.  Try running together with one child as the leader and one child as the caboose.  The kids loved this activity.  Try matching up some coordination movements.  Jump sideways together holding the band matching up the timing of the motor movements.

Although I was compensated to write this post, I give this product a big thumbs up!  All is all, this is a wonderful, fun product for pediatric therapy sessions.  

Here are the positives:

  • nice tool for working on muscle strengthening in children
  • the colors add to the fun and creativity of the games
  • works with one child or a group of children
  • encourages motor planning and body awareness
  • encourages motor control of your body motions i.e. slowing down your body if it is moving too fast
  • excellent proprioceptive input to the joints and muscles

Here is the negative:

  • for group use you really need a large, empty room, gym or outside space.  If you are like most therapists this kind of space can be hard to find in a school setting.  For solo or partner use though, you can use in smaller spaces. 

These are just a few suggestions of what you can do with the Stretchy Band™.  Head on over to BearPawCreek to see their products all made in the USA.