Awhile ago I made some stretchy resistance sensory tools for my kids, including a sensory tunnel and two homemade stretchy bands. They are a great way for J, who seeks proprioceptive input, to get the input his body needs and they are also a great tool for fidgety kids. These homemade stretchy resistance bands were so simple to make, even if you have zero sewing skills. And there are lots of ways to play with them!
These homemade stretchy bands are a perfect DIY sensory tool for kids with autism and/or sensory processing disorder, but all kids will LOVE them.
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How to Make Homemade Stretchy Resistance Bands for Kids
The inspiration for these homemade stretchy bands came from the Stretch-Eze and some other large cloth tube-like stretchy thing J played with during summer camp. He loved them so I thought why not make him one.
To make your own stretchy bands, you'll need:
- Spandex in the color of your choice (J wanted bright yellow)
- Sewing machine
I used my spandex to make a sensory tunnel (get the full tutorial here) so I made two stretchy bands using the scraps. They measure 16" wide and roughly 58" long. I do wish ours were a bit bigger, maybe closer to 60", but again, these were the scraps. I made do with what I had leftover.
To make the stretchy band, use a zigzag stitch to sew the ends of the spandex together so that it forms a loop. Be sure to reinforce at the beginning and the end of your stitches. That's it! Told you it was ridiculously easy.
Fun Ways to Use the Homemade Stretchy Resistance Bands
We gather a couple of kids (or kids and an adult) and loop the band around everyone, like pictured below. We then slowly walk around in a circle singing "Ring Around the Rosie." Then everyone falls and/or leans back at the end of the song. Alternatively, the boys like to play tug-a-war by looping the bands around their bellies (instead of their backs) and slowly walking in opposite directions (not pictured).
You can also use the stretchy bands as a fidget tool for meal times and school time. Simply loop the band around the chair. Kids can push, kick, and pull on it using their legs, feet, or hands. It has worked great for us during mealtimes! And don't worry about it getting messy since you can simply toss the stretchy bands into the washing machine when needed.
You can also use the stretchy band like a body sock. I like to encourage the boys to try and make shapes with their body by pressing their hands out or spreading their legs.
You can also loop the two stretchy bands together and play tug-a-war with them (not pictured).
And finally, you can do an alternate version of the body sock, which has been affectionately dubbed "The Banana" by K. Here's K modeling the banana pose, mid jog. You can tell by the smile on his face that this idea is his favorite!