Has the latest playground craze caught up with your kids yet?
I’m talking about loom bands, which have captivated my seven-year-old daughter along with a large percentage of her classmates – boys included.
Like all childhood crazes, looms bands have stimulated a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of this latest trend.
But what do you think? Should loom bands be banned because they’re too much of a distraction? Or are they a force for good because they stimulate creativity, encourage children to talk together, and offer up an alternative to the latest tech gadgets?
Let’s take a closer look…
I blame the Duchess of Cambridge!
According to the Daily Mail, the loom band craze here in the UK was accelerated after Kate Middleton wore a bracelet given to her by two young girls during her recent royal tour in New Zealand. But she’s not the only high profile celebrity who has been spotted wearing these rainbow coloured creations. Everyone from David Beckham to the Duchess of Cornwall has been snapped sporting one of these colourful friendship bracelets on their arms. And that’s not to mention the thousands of parents and teachers who are wearing them too!
An inexpensive craze that every child can enjoy
As a mum, the loom band craze is one playground trend I’m more than happy to encourage.
That’s because I think there are lots of benefits.
For starters, compared with other “must-have” kids’ toys, loom bands are very affordable. Just this weekend we restocked for as little as £1 a bag, making this pastime perfect for my daughter’s pocket money treats. What’s more, because loom band items can be dismantled, you can use the bands over and over. The possibilities are endless.
As a parent, peer pressure is one thing that always concerns me – and I know I’m not alone here. I remember when I was at junior school marbles and sticker books were the big things. But it wasn’t always easy to get involved on the same scale as everyone else. Marbles weren’t cheap, and the thing with sticker collecting was you always ended up with stacks of swaps. As a result, it was often difficult to persuade your parents to let you buy more because they were seen as a waste of money! And as a kid, it feels awful to be excluded from a craze because you don’t have the materials to join in. But I think this is less likely to happen with loom bands. Because they are relatively inexpensive more parents will be willing to buy them. In addition, the inevitable “swapsies and sharsies” will mean that most kids will be able to have a go – if they want to. And that’s got to be a good thing.
A craft skill that’s quick and easy to master
In addition, despite the intricate and detailed appearance of the woven loom bands, the technique is not that tricky to master. Sure, there are plenty of advanced techniques, but most school children will easily pick it up and feel confident making something that looks beautiful. I know children are enjoying sharing what they’ve created and I love that sense of achievement and satisfaction that this craft is inspiring and encouraging.
What’s more, this is an activity that all the family can enjoy together. My daughter taught me over the weekend and it didn’t take long to get into the zone (I actually quite enjoyed it!) I also discovered you don’t even need a special loom to get making. You can actually weave a fishtail design using just your fingers.
An easy way to stimulate your child’s creativity
One of the biggest selling points with loom bands is their ability to encourage creativity and individuality.
It’s great to see children getting back to basics (as it were) and making something physical (from scratch) with their own hands – because as a generation, this is something that can be missing. I also love the fact that loom bands are bringing craft back into young people’s lives and the fact that it’s a social activity. I know my daughter sits around with her friends at lunchtime happily creating – it’s far less isolating that playing with tablets and electronic games, which have become so popular in recent years.
This generation has been blessed with amazing technical gadgetry that we couldn’t even conceive when we were kids. But there’s a risk that along the way we’ll lose something in the process. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with a senior tutor when I used to be a teacher. We discussed the likelihood that in the not so distant future, even primary school children would be completely reliant on tablets for writing and mark making. As a writer, I can’t conceive not sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and a pen or pencil as I start the creative thought process. Will pen and paper really become a thing of the past?
Or is it?
On the negative side, when it comes to loom bands I have heard complaints from teachers that the craze is disrupting class. That’s because instead of listening, children are too busy fiddling with their latest creation. Not so good! But are loom bands really to blame? Personally, I think it’s a shame to ban something that children are enjoying so much – especially due to the positive impact that this craze is having on so many.
But what do you think?
What have your kids made?
Do you think the loom band craze is healthy? Please let me know in the comments below.
Also, whilst bracelets seem to be the most common item made, the options of what you can create seen to be endless. I’ve seen necklaces and even loom band animals. I’d love to know what your kids have been up to. So please let me know in the comments below. Alternatively, why not post a picture on our Facebook page?
(And if you’ve read this far and still don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this collection of easy loom band videos put together by netmums. It’s bound to get you inspired and also get you up to speed with what all the fuss is about.)