All right, some of you may remember doing this when you were in kindergarten? Maybe I am dating myself by sharing the idea for a rubber band board? I remember in kindergarten and first grade playing with these rudimentary boards with colored rubber bands. Sound familiar? I know it may sound silly, but believe me when I say that rubber bands can be a great learning tool.
Before we get into a big discussion about this activity, let's first figure out what we will need:
- Nails (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches with a small head)
- A rectangular shaped board (about one inch thick). The size will depend on how you plan to use it, e.g., as an activity in the car, for practicing letters, etc.
- Sand paper
- A variety of average sized rubber bands of different colors. Make sure they are not the tiny ones that break easily.
- A hammer
Here's what you do:
- Sand any rough edges around the board.
- Pound several rows of nails in the boards. Try to space the nails evenly. Drawing out the dots with a pencil can be helpful. Space the nails out. About an inch apart should do.
- Have your child stretch out the rubber bands around the nails. Have them explore making different shapes, weaving rubber bands in between and around the nail, practice making their ABC's, lining up colors or spelling their name.
As with all the activities in the Summer Boredom Buster series, this activity has a number of developmental benefits:
- This is a great activity to work on those fine motor muscles and overall hand strength.
- Helps teach letter recognition, colors, shapes, etc.
- It fosters problem solving.
- It fosters creativity.
- Helps with visual perceptual skills.
So as you can see, the size of the board will depend on what you want your child to be able to do with it. The bigger, the more opportunities. I met a parent once who was very crafty. She had her husband make a two foot square peg board and had him attach it to the wall in their playroom. Her husband painted it red (in keeping with the color theme in their playroom). They stored bright, contrasting colored rubber bands (e.g., white, yellow, etc.) in a small container mounted on the wall underneath the board. How cool is that! Conversely, I have known parents who have made smaller versions and brought them on long road trips. Even older kids enjoy making rubber band art!
This activity, of course, is geared towards older children as the rubber bands constitute a choking hazard. So keeping safety in mind, this activity would be most appropriate with children over the age of three. Even at that age, however, you should be sure to supervise your kids with this activity especially if you have a child who likes to put things in their mouth!