What It Does & Does not Do
The strength and stretchability of ElastaBlast create an exciting new movement experience that can either contain and hold a rowdy group or encourage risk taking from even the most timid. Its dynamic rebound challenges individual gravity and balance. Group movement can support individual experimentation with trust, caution, risk-taking and release.
While ElastaBlast is made of heavy-duty surgical elastic, it should not be misused or abused. Do not use it to play tug-of-war, as a swing or as a grown-up baby bouncer. Like anything with tensile properties, it can have a recoil effect, so be careful that participants do not slingshot out of control. You can involve up to twenty-five people (X- large), twelve people (large), or four people (small), but be discrete as to how individual weight might affect that number. Make sure fabric is equally distributed around internal elastic before each use. Store away from radiators, direct sunlight or other heat sources.
Warm- Up Exercises
For arms, back, chest, shoulders:
Sitting or standing, participants hold ElastaBlast above heads moving straight arms forward and backwards, side to side, and circling over the head with as much range of motion as possible. Hold ElastaBlastwith two hands, arms outstretched to the front. Stretch arms to either side without moving torso.
Holding ElastaBlast in right hand everyone step back to expand the circle, producing as much tension as possible. Do not let go! With feet parallel to the circle, lean sideways away from the center while stretching left arm over head towards the center. Change sides. While sitting on the floor, hold CoOper Band with right hand. Move back to produce the right amount of tension. Slowly lean forward, twisting torso towards arm holding band. Change sides. Participants stand or sit facing center, with CoOper Band held in both hands. Each participant pulls away from the center with bent knees, producing an undercurve of back and pelvis. Instruct use of oppositional pull to change body position and find different places in the back to stretch.
Participants sit holding ElastaBlast in front of them, with legs either straight or slightly bent. Lean forward from hips and perform a rowing action with the arms. The body returns to the vertical as arms circle up towards the ceiling. All lie on back with head towards center. Hold band with two hands, raise one leg, placing band under arch of foot. Use CoOper Band to stretch your hamstrings by gently pulling your leg towards your head. While on back bring both legs open to a V shape on band, overlapping ankles with your neighbor if necessary. Allow weight of legs to hang into the support of the band while maintaining lower back on floor. Enjoy the stretch! Standing, and far enough apart to create adequate tension, participants hang forward while holding on to ElastaBlast. Encourage use of breathing and sensing body weight in order to increase stretch and relaxation.
ElastaBlast has natural resistance properties and ideal for working with sensory integration. With a group, the ElastaBlast provides gentle proprioceptive input into various muscle groups, thus stimulating sensory input. ElastaBlast is wonderful for improving range of motion, motor planning and social skills. ElastaBlast also requires coordination and encourages cause and effect responses.
Sitting, hook ElastaBlast around instep of foot while holding on with right and left hands. Press with foot and pull with hands to lift leg away from floor. Lower slowly and repeat until leg tires. Use texture of ElastaBlast to massage feet, achilles tendons, and calves.
Participants sit facing ElastaBlast and holding it in two hands, execute a backwards buttock walk until band provides a moderate resistance. Lie down on three counts, lift ElastaBlast to the ceiling and resume sitting position, again in three counts. As a variation, instruct one half of the circle to pull back to the floor while the other half does its sit- up. Add a twist on the way down while holding with one hand, lie on back, heads toward center, place arches of feet on band, press legs toward floor while holding band.
Still on back, knees bent, feet on floor, hold CoOper Band with hands shoulder width apart. Arc band up towards thighs and back to floor over head. Repeat with one arm. Repeat moving right arm diagonally towards left thigh.
The Basic Amoeba:
Form a circle with 3-8 people inside the CoOper Band, which is stretched comfortably against the lower back. Arms rest lightly on the ElastaBlast while hands grasp it on either side. Take a few steps to the rear, then lean slightly backwards until a counter-tension results between weight and support.
This exercise promotes a physical experience of rebound, while encouraging interpersonal spontaneity. Four or eight participants stand inside ElastaBlast. Stretch ElastaBlast outward to light tension. Children count off and run sequentially across the circle without delay creating a pinball effect.
Start inside CoOper Band and move out to the Amoeba position. Participants take 3 rotating steps to right, then two to left. Complete one revolution around the ElastaBlast in this way. Try turning on your favorite music, adding eight counts of free form between each of your double rotating turns, and imagine dancing with your favorite partner!
Group stands either outside or inside CoOper Band holding with two hands. One or two “break dancers” hold two-handed while on floor. Group creates momentum for “break dancers” to spin, propel, or whip around on back, belly, or sides. A nice, smooth wood floor is necessary.
Encourage groups of 4-8 children to work together to make familiar shapes to begin with. Introduce three dimensional shape making by adding extensions into different planes. Have them make up their own shapes. Divide group into shape makers and observers. As shape makers complete their shape, observers can either draw shapes they see or choose one they would like to “move” as a group. Different options for moving their shapes are expansion/ contraction, twisting, rotating, changing positions while maintaining original shape, etc.
Who is in Control?
Alternately stand inside or outside of CoOper Band, holding two- handed, facing toward center. Decide who are the leaders and who are the riders. Object is to either lead or follow while staying in balance.
All stand with feet spread wide inside CoOper Band, leaning slightly back. Without moving feet, participants attempt to uproot their counterparts by using hands and arms on the CoOper Band and performing quick shifts that throw the other off balance.
Participants hold ElastaBlast over their heads. One Participant at a time hangs from the ElastaBlast. Encourage both hangers and supporters to verbalize imagery or feelings, e. g., surrender, dependency, hanging by one’s fingernails, etc.
Participants take the Amoeba position. Count off in threes. The leader calls out “one, two, three, all ones change.” All number one participants must change their ElastaBlast positions with another number one. Last one to find a new place is out. Leader repeats commands changing the number each time until there are three participants left. The last one left goes in the center and gets one minute to direct others.
Facing towards center, expand circle as large as it will go. On leader’s signal all children run towards center while making a sound. Gradually increase or decrease sound level. Agree on specific kind of sound. It could range from a hearty scream to a robust musical phrase.
Give the oldies-but-goodies a new twist. CoOper Band can greatly increase the fun of such tried and true activities as mirror games, Simon Says, The Hokey Pokey, Follow the Leader, Red Rover, etc.
Start with 1- 3 bands with two children in each band. Set a large circle or square boundary. The children in the bands try to touch the children outside the bands. When a child is tagged he/ she must join the circle inside the band. Play until all children are tagged and inside the band. Variation: Child tagged is replaced by tagger. Suggestion: Group says name of child to be tagged so group works together. Identify group leader to make sure the group works together.
Stand inside band in Amoeba starting position. Pick two players to be in the center. Players on the circle must continuously move around circle and maintain pressured contact with band while trying to hit person in the middle with a soft foam or SloMo Ball. If person opposite circle or player in the middle catches the ball, the thrower must replace middle player. Larger size bands work best. Variation: Players in the middle are the throwers.
Use several small bands with 5- 6 children inside. Each team must keep a balloon in the air longer than the other teams. Variation: Switch places while keeping balloons in the air. Two teams volley the balloons back and forth while maintaining pressured waist contact with the band.
Cat and Mouse:
Mice run in and out while being chased by the cat. Cat( s) must always be in contact with the band. Children try to prevent cat from getting mice by lifting side up and down, ricocheting cat off path, or pulling circle away from mice.
Count off in 4’s. All hold outside band with left hand, pull out to firm tension, and continue to circle around to left maintaining tension. As child’s number is called they turn and run two times clockwise around to their original position. Call can instruct runners to skip, hop, leap, slither, etc. as variations. Twister Lead the group in floor patterns that begin to overlap each other by climbing under, over, or around each other until they reach a twisted spatial design. Now get untwisted without letting go of the band.