Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rubber Bands

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!

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Deborah Stewart said...

LoL on the flying monkey:) I never would have considered putting rubberbands in the sensory table! What a unique idea!

Ms Debbie said...

I have one of those huge bags too ! Thanks for the ideas!

Michelle said...

Love the monkey!! I think every classroom needs a Flying, Screaming Monkey :) Your classroom must have been busy and loud today. Kuddos to you for allowing it all to happen.

Anonymous said...

My brother and I used to hoard rubber bands we found in our house to make musical instruments. I always looked for the really thick ones so I could make a bass.

jenny said...

The image of the flying monkey is priceless :)

Unknown said...

Love this! Thank you!

Catherine said...

What fun!
Do you play the elastics jumping game with the long Chinese jump ropes? We used to have a game to jump over, inside, outside and on the elastics that we played at school (when I was a child) - if you are interested I can give you the rhyme and how to play.

SurprisedMom said...

I never knew you could have so much fun with rubber bands! The flying monkey was funny! I do remember from my far away youth something about using rubber bands to make instruments. I'll bet the kids had a lot of fun with the rubber bands!

Maria Wynne - Casa Maria's Creative Learning Zone said...

Don't you just love the dollar store?
What a great idea, a sensory tub full of rubber bands.How did it feel?
Someone is going to be searching for rubber bands, my kids would just love it. And have a flying monkey on top of everything.


Unknown said...

Teacher Tom, you are a total GENIUS!!! I'm just sorry my kids are all done with your preschool classes. There is absolutely nothing like this happening in our elementary schools! Are you sure you won't consider an upgrade?

xoxo, lb

Anna G said...

HA! I wanted one of those monkeys for Christmas, but didn't get one. I'm glad to see he belongs to folks who appreciate a screaming flying monkey as much as I would!