Wriggly ribbons

3-5 years
Child Development
Support play with talk and sign (e.g. describing movement in words, interpreting words with movement); pretend play
1 ribbon stick or canning ring for each child
Physical Activity

Developing movement skills (body and spatial awareness, rhythm, timing); creativity; social skills (leading)

How to Play
  1. With the children, hold the end of the ribbon stick or the canning ring and practice making patterns (e.g. figure 8, waves, rainbow, spiral, circle, wiggle).
    1. Show the children how to use the whole arm, the lower arm (from the elbow) or just the wrist, to make the ribbon move. Change hands.
  2. Invite the children to act out ideas using their ribbons (e.g. pretend it’s a windshield wiper, a tornado, a bicycle wheel, a wiggly snake, etc.). 
Change it up / Alternatives / Additional Options
  • Read “Washing Machine” out loud and together create the movements described in the poem.
    • THE WASHING MACHINE by Anonymous

      Washing in the washing machine, going round and round.
      Washing in the washing machine, moving up and down.
      Round and round and up and down, it makes a noisy sound.
      Faster, faster, faster, round and round and round.
  • Make up actions to a favourite book or song. For example, a wave action could be used to show “Swim so wild and swim so free” and a spiral above the head could be the “water squirtin’ out of your spout” in Baby Beluga by Raffi.
  • Play “Copy Cat.” Make a pattern with your ribbon and invite the children to copy it. The children can take turns being the leader.
  • Pretend the ribbon has magic powers…but only if it never touches the ground…or never stops moving…or if the person holding it always stays on tiptoe…or always holds one hand behind her back, etc. Take turns deciding on the “the rule.”

Excerpt from the HOP Early Learning Practitioners Resource (Decoda Literacy Solutions)