Several years ago I must of hit our local dollar store at just the right moment because they had giant bags of rubber bands unlike any I've ever seen before. This was a collection of every shape and size, including various versions of those tough rubber bands that grocers use to hold together stalks of broccoli and other produce. For $4 dollars I was able to buy enough to fill our sensory table. Of course, I've continually augmented the collection over the years as I've found interesting thicknesses, colors or sizes:
We're playing with the rubber bands this week. I combine them with tongs and large yoghurt containers, cigar boxes, shoe box lids, and (if you look closely at the picture, you can see it) an object that I think used to be some kind of rack for holding plates. And, of course, we use our homemade geoboards:
We make rubber band "string" instruments (by stretching the bands around the containers and boxes), rubber band chains, and rubber band balls:
Yesterday, we made a rubber band trampoline by wrapping a cigar box with lots of bands, then bouncing our balls off of it.
With the younger kids we spend a lot of time hunting for the "biggest" and "smallest," and for matching attributes like thickness, length or color.
And, of course, there is the fine art of shooting rubber bands. A rubber band can sting, so I usually steer the "shooting" activities to these large fabric coated bands that several of the parents have told me they used to (probably insensitively) call Chinese jump ropes:
Whatever we should call them, they can be stretched large enough that I can frame my entire body. The nice thing is that the fabric coating takes the sting out should anyone get hit by accident. Typically, the way it works is that an adult holds one end on a finger, while the child stretches it out then lets it go. We've discovered that they can fly nearly the entire length of the classroom, but it takes technique.
Yesterday, for the first time, we added the screaming, flying monkey to the mix:
This guy has latex tube arms and when sent flying, emits a monkey scream of either fear or or joy.
We got a lot of practice with taking turns!