Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Stretchy Resistance Bands

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.

How to make stretchy resistance bands for kids - perfect for kids with autism and/or sensory processing disorder from And Next Comes L

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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
  • Scissors
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.

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a DIY body sock alternative to stimulate proprioceptive sensory input from And Next Comes L

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).

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands with more than one child to stimulate proprioceptive sensory input from And Next Comes L

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.

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a fidget tool for kids from And Next Comes L

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a fidget tool for kids from And Next Comes L

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.

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a DIY body sock alternative to stimulate proprioceptive sensory input from And Next Comes L

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a DIY body sock alternative to stimulate proprioceptive sensory input from And Next Comes L

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!

Using homemade stretchy resistance bands as a DIY body sock alternative to stimulate proprioceptive sensory input from And Next Comes L

Other Things You'll Love






Tutorial for making your own stretchy resistance bands for proprioceptive sensory input for fidgety kids and for kids with sensory processing disorder and/or autism. Includes suggestions on how to use them from And Next Comes L
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33 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this idea!!! It would be a good way to tire out 'typical' kids too.

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    1. Oh yes, definitely! Especially on cold winter days or rainy days!

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  2. Such a great idea! Can't wait to make them for my son. Thanks!

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  3. These are so cool & simple! I'm gonna get my mom on these ASAP! ;)

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  4. Oh yeah, these are super cool. My girls would adore these! I think this might finally make me pull out the sewing machine I bought SIX YEARS AGO and have still never used!!

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    1. Hahaha...happy to help you dust it off! :)

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  5. I have just whipped up four of these to take to school. I'm sure the kids will find some imaginative ways to use them. Thank you.

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    1. They were super easy to make weren't they? Hope the kiddos like them! I'd love to see what they come up with too!

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  6. As an OTA student I can't wait to make these. I'm excited to see the tunnel.

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    1. The tunnel is pretty awesome! But I need more hands before I can photograph it!

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  7. These look great! Was the spandex expensive?

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    1. I bought 3 meters for $24.00 and I used it to make two stretchy bands and one resistance tunnel. I'm sure if you can find spandex in the clearance aisle it would be even less expensive.

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  8. My daughter loves the resistance band and I would love to make her the tunnel too, keeping an eye out for that post!

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    1. Wonderful! I'll hopefully get the tunnel on the blog before Christmas!

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  9. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! My boys (4 & 6) are fidgety and active. They absolutely LOVE their stretchy bands! I can't believe how many creative uses they have come up with for them. Thank you again!

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    1. You're welcome! They're so versatile aren't they?

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    2. Yes they are! I actually just blogged about how much we love them: http://www.mommade.org/2014/12/stretchy-band-craziness.html :)

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    3. Oh my goodness! That was a lot of fun to read! I love the ninja outfits with them. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  10. I know this post is a year old but I'm wondering (and really bad with figuring this out from the picture) if your length was 60" before or after sewing? We homeschool and I've got some big fidgety boys and want to make them some. Was going to increase the length even more, to maybe 72" but wanted to check first on if that's before or after sewing.

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  11. Hi, I am so excited and wants to do my own stretchy band for my child too. Do you use ordinary tread for sewing or a different tread like Nylon? Thanks!

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    1. I just used regular thread because that's all I had on hand and it's held up awesome!

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  12. Do you use a polyester and spandex material?

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    1. Yes, I believe it was just a polyester and spandex blend.

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  13. Do you have an approximate measurement for the bands?

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    1. Yes, when flat, they measure approximately 29" long by 10-12" wide. Hope that helps! But you can make them any length you want.

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  14. I would expect that ordinary stitching would break when the spandex is stretched. Did this happen to you?
    Did you get elasticated thread, or stretch the spandex to its maximum as you stitched?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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