The Connect-a-Stretchy Band from Bear Paw Creek, is a staple in my bag of tricks! I love it because it can be used with all age groups to meet a variety of goals. An indispensable feature is that it can be re-sized easily and immediately to fit the size of your groups. One of my favorite places to use the Connect-a-Stretchy Band is with my groups who have dementia. I often walk into these facilities to find people sitting together in a room, but not interacting with each other. They may be sleeping, watching t.v., confused, depressed or irritable. The Connect-a-Stretchy Band is an invaluable tool to help clients who have difficulty socializing, become engaged and “connected” to others.
After a warm up period of singing familiar songs and perhaps, a Hello, song, I introduce the Connect-a-Stretchy Band. While sitting in a circle with everyone holding it, I strum the autoharp to encourage gross motor movements – up & down, in & out, side to side. We’ll move and sing to familiar songs like Edelweiss or Take Me Out to the Ballgame. I also use recorded music so I can also participate and help guide movements. People who are sleeping or perhaps confused, are automatically connected and supported by their neighbor’s movements. It’s not unusual to see clients wake up, begin smiling and singing. It’s important to remember to keep movements simple and take into account health issues that may impact their abilities such as arthritis. However, once they hear a favorite song or dance, you may find your clients moving to the beat in ways they haven’t in years.
A couple of favorites you may want to try are the Blue Danube Waltz and all time favorite, Beer Barrel Polka.
Perfect for Oktoberfest! Beer Barrel Polka by Frankie Yankovic and His Yanks!
Another great feature is that it is washable. Janet at Bear Paw Creek makes products that are sturdy and long lasting. I’ve had my Connect-a-Stretchy Band for years and use it often. The connectors and material are all still in great condition. I’m a huge fan!