Teach your children elastic games that you may recall from your childhood such as Chinese jump rope. This game is played around the world by kids on the playground using only a large elastic band. It is also called elastics or French skipping depending on whom you ask and is played while jumping up and over the band while singing songs and rhymes. You can play an elastic game with your older children and jump in the game, too, with a large human-sized rubber band. Older kids play a simple game of rubber band war using only rubber bands and their imagination.
Chinese Jump Rope
Instruct two of your friends to stand a little more than 3 feet apart from each other with the elastic wrapped around the back of their legs at ankle height, so that it forms an oblong shape. The game requires at least three players.
Face one of your two friends and start with your right foot on the outside of the elastic and left foot inside the elastic.
Jump straight up and set both feet inside the elastic.
Jump straight up again and set both feet outside the elastic.
Jump straight up again and turn right 90 degrees in a scissor pose, so you are no longer facing one of your friends. Your left foot should land on top of the elastic in back of you and right foot on top of the elastic in front of you. If you can do this succession of jumps without making a mistake, the elastic is raised higher on your friends' legs and you go again. If you make a mistake, your turn is over.
Sing: "England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales Inside, outside, inside, on!" as you jump straight up and down.
Do each succession of jumps successfully and your friends keep moving the elastic up another height until it is around the back of each of their necks. Do the succession of jumps again at the neck height perfectly and the jump rope moves all the way down to your friends' ankles again but they move their legs wider with the elastic to create a circular shape and make it more difficult for you.
Do the succession of jumps again. When the elastic moves up to their arms and shoulders, they hold the elastic out wide and you do your jumps straight up without making a mistake. This second round of jumps goes up to their shoulders and not their neck.
Make it to the third round of jumps and your two friends now have the elastic around each one of their ankles so that the wide elastic circle is a very skinny oblong shape. As the rope progresses up their bodies, they turn sideways 90 degrees and the third round goes up to their shoulders. Once you complete the third round of jumps without any mistakes, you can let someone else take a turn.
Human Rubberband Game
Step inside the Human Rubberband up to your waist and back facing the rubber band. Three others should do the same with the same band.
Move back until the rubber band stretches and you form a square with each person as a corner. Everyone should do this at once.
Run to the opposite corner as the person in that corner heads to your side. Pass each other on the right side. As you both near the opposite side, turn so you are both backing into the rubber band. As the two of you fall into the rubber band sides, the two other people are sling-shot gently forward and then run across to the right sides of each other as you and your partner did. You build more momentum as you run back and forth in pairs. Continue until the rhythm is broken or someone wants to stop.
Rubber Band Wars
Form teams of two to five people on each team and have each team gather 20 rubber bands. Use thinner rubber bands that are about 1/8 inch thick.
Turn lightweight folding tables over on their sides as walls to protect your team. You are hiding behind the top of the table with the legs toward you.
Shoot rubber bands at one another by pulling back your rubber band on your thumb with your forefinger and thumb of the other hand tightly and letting go toward your target, which is a member of the other team.
Hide behind the tables to avoid getting hit.
Keep playing until someone on your team or the other team gets hit and that person is out. Whatever team with the last person standing wins.
In Chinese jump rope, there are a number of jump successions and rhymes you can look up on the Internet. In rubber band war, kids are supposed to use their imagination and pretend they are defending their kingdom or create stories and characters while they are playing.
Be careful when shooting rubber bands at another person. Do not shoot toward someone's face and be sure to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts as to avoid the rubber bands hitting your bare skin as it may hurt.