Friday, August 31, 2012

Make a Ribbon Wand for “Ribbon” Gymnastics

A few weeks ago, near the end of the Olympic Games, we made ribbon wands after watching the Rhythmic Gymnastics competitions.  They were very easy to make and my children have had a wonderful time pretending to be “Ribbon” gymnasts these last few weeks (as my youngest calls the sport).  

Did you know that the Paralympic Games began yesterday?  You can find a list of sports and a schedule here.  Rhythmic Gymnastics is not a paralympic sport, but in the spirit of the games, I give you the homemade ribbon wand.

We were able to make these wands with items we have on hand.  My girls are always finding ways to play with ribbons, so we keep all the cloth ribbons from gifts or broken hair bows in our bin of dress up clothes.  For this project, my children choose long ribbons, one gold and one cream colored.  We also happened to have wooden rods, but plastic rods or broken fairy wands would work too.

To make these wands, you need:

long ribbons (we used some that wrapped gifts bought at fancy stores)
12 inch wooden craft rods
a glue gun

Let your children express their creativity as they color the ribbons.  My older daughter opted for solid colors while the younger also drew lines and shapes on hers.  After your children have colored and decorated the ribbon with the markers, wrap one end around the wooden rod and secure it with hot glue.  I placed glue on the first edge and sealed it again after wrapping the ribbon around the rod a few times.  Let dry and then dance with your ribbon.  This is a great way to encourage indoor exercise on a rainy or super hot day.

If you need inspiration for how to use your ribbon wand, you can watch the gold medal winning ribbon routine by Yevgenia Kanayeva here.  By the way, my children don’t throw their ribbon wands inside the house, but they do like to wave them quite spastically and have so far not caused any damage to our possessions.  They both study ballet, so this activity is all about pirouettes and spins with a ribbon accessory for them.  When they are ready to try out the other rhythmic apparatus, such as the hoop or the ball, they will have to go outside.

I have not structured a formal lesson around the ribbon wand, but my children are learning about graceful movements, translating movement into a visual image, and coordinating what their feet do while their arm manipulates the ribbon in various ways.  They tend to take turns with their ribbon presentations, learning new movements by watching each other and then copying or changing what they have seen the other do.

I have a question for you, readers.  Rhythmic gymnastics is a women’s sport because women have the flexibility required for the dance movements.  Since I have girls, I did not hesitate to make these wands when they asked for some.  Will any of you be making these wands for boys to play with?  I think both boys and girls could have fun with this toy, but will boys think it is too girly?

I have attached this post to Laura’s Fantastic Ideas for Summer Fun Link up over at Come Together Kids.  This on-going link up already has over 200 ideas for summer projects and activities.  

Karri at My Life’s a Treasure hosts a weekly My Favorite Things Link up, and I am linking this post there. 

Megan at Sorta Crunchy shares hosting duty for the weekly Your Green Resource Link up with three other blogs.  This link up is for green living: recycling, repurposing, do-it-yourself, organic gardening, and recipes using whole foods.

Stef at Educating Laytons just started a Tactile Tuesday Link up for tactile learning projects and resources, so I have also linked this project there. 

Rachel of Sun Scholars hosts a weekly For the Kids Friday Link up for “KID-RELATED activities, games, recipes, parties, gifts, clothing you've created, crafts, traditions, lessons, and so on.”


  1. Great idea, Elisa. I'll have to make them for my boys and girl and let you know. But, I have a feeling the boys may try the rhythmic gymnastics for a few mintues and then they will probably become swords! But, they could surprise me....

  2. What a cute idea. I know my little Alexa would love one of these. Thank you for sharing at my Our Favorite Things Link Party.

  3. Have fun with the ribbon wand, Karri.

  4. Jen, I just found your comment in the spam list. Yes, do tell me how your boys like the ribbon wands.

  5. I don't know how I missed this earlier - my apologies. This looks lovely, I would have loved it as a kid (I have 2 boys, but I was a gymnast).

    Thanks for linking up to Tactile Tuesdays


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