I’ve recently introduced giant scrunchies to my classes. “Oooh, what’s one of those?” do I hear you say? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds – just like a hair scrunchie (or hair tie), it’s essentially an elastic band covered in fabric – only larger. I first saw one in use in my native New Zealand around 20 years or so ago but I have found them less common in the UK. In fact they seem so rare in the UK that I couldn’t find one to buy and had to resort to getting the sewing machine out and stitching up my own version, pictured above (of which I am VERY proud!).
Giant scrunchies are a fabulous aid for circle time from babies and toddlers right up to pre-school and KS1 (7/8 year olds). Both visual and tactile they draw the children in and encourage them to work together. In an earlier post I described using the scrunchie for Row Row Row Your Boat – here’s a chant I use for a static song with a rowing action:
Row, children row
As out to sea we go
With a strong push…. [lean forward pushing the scrunchie into the centre and hold]
And a strong pull… [lean back, pull the scrunchie out as taut as possible and hold]
Row, children row.
For circle songs and dances a giant scrunchie is invaluable. It keeps the children moving together, with a defined shape. I have written several songs for using the scrunchie such as Rainbow Marching (which you can listen to here and watch here) and also use traditional songs such as Ring a Ring a Roses and Skip to My Lou with variations to the words.
The rainbow scrunchie is particularly useful in a nursery or pre-school setting but do be aware that any marching in and marching out of the circle needs to be carefully controlled or the children can become over enthusiastic!
For baby classes I have a sensory scrunchie with different textures and colours. The children love to hold and feel the movement of the scrunchie; and even if they’e not holding on they can see the colours and shapes it makes when in use. As the children are non-mobile I use gentle rocking songs such as See Saw Marjorie Daw and My Rainbow Ring Goes Up and Down (to the tune of Mulberry Bush).
Simple but effective – a giant scrunchie is lots of fun!