Elastic bands can form the basis for several children's games. Try a traditional game of Chinese skipping rope or create an educational geo-board for kids to learn from and enjoy. Children also can make a collection of elastic-band powered cars to race with common household items. Hold competitions indoors or out.
Chinese Skipping Rope
Make a Chinese skipping rope by hooking rubber bands together tightly until you have a large loop. To connect, overlap two rubber bands and then fold the top band in half over the bottom band. Pull one end of the folded rubber band through its own loop and tug. Continue by folding another band over and through until your large loop is complete. Experiment with different lengths until you find one that works for your children. Thirty-six standard office-sized rubber bands make a good length. To play, you need three people. The Chinese skipping rope is placed around the ankles of two players while the third person jumps in and out.
Make a geo-board with supplies from a hardware store or scraps from your own garage. A geo-board is a math manipulative to teach shapes, how to measure perimeters as well as spatial concepts such as inside, outside, between, under and over. Stretch rubber bands over the pegs of a geo-board to make artistic designs, letters and patterns. To make a geo-board, you need a 12-by-12-inch piece of peg board and a box of small nuts and bolts, around 150 of each. Push the bolts into the holes of the peg board and secure each in place with a nut. Give your child a bag of coloured rubber bands and she can create designs by stretching the bands around the exposed ends of the bolts. Make two boards and copy each other's designs.
Rubber Band Cars
Build a rubber band car with a piece of heavy cardboard, a thin skewer and two faucet washers. The wheels are made from two CDs. You also need masking tape and poster putty. Start by cutting the cardboard into a 5-by- 6-inch shape. Make a 2-inch notch, 1 1/2 inches deep in the centre of the 5-inch side of the body. Slide the skewer through the cardboard, close to the outer edge. Twist to make the hole large enough so that the wood moves freely. This is the axle of your car. Wrap a few pieces of masking tape over the spot where the axle goes over the notch. Here is where the rubber ban will be wrapped. The tape helps to hold the rubber band in place. Slide a washer and then a CD on one side of the skewer. Use poster putty to secure. Do the same on the other side. Now, tape a rubber band to the cardboard opposite the axle. Wrap the unattached end over the piece of tape in the centre of the axle. Twist several times and release on the ground. Use these as a classroom challenge. See who can make their car go the fastest.
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