Great Inventions or Passing Crazes? Loom Bands, Rubik's Cubes, Space-Hoppers, Hula-Hoops & more

Definition of Craze (noun)

An enthusiasm for a particular activity or object which appears suddenly and achieves widespread but short-lived popularity

Crazes come and go. People love them or hate them. Most of all, many people moan about them, decry them or treat those who follow them as sheep or nutcases.

Is there any sense to them? Indeed, are they just crazes or do they last? Do we benefit from any of them?


Loom Bands

Loom, hooks, connectors, suggested patterns & the Coloured Bands
Loom, hooks, connectors, suggested patterns & the Coloured Bands | Source

Loom Bands

I got to know about Loom Bands in early 2014; it was then the latest craze in Britain, as well as in some of Europe it seems. It is the making of bracelets, necklaces, rings and anything else the imagination can come up with, out of small rubber bands called Loom Bands.

The bands are then woven together by using... a loom! Alternatively, your fingers can be treated as the loom. Versatile, eh?

The rubber bands come in all colours, plain or multi, matt, fluorescent or sparkly and even in popular football colours.

I could hear many people muttering, ‘It’s just a craze. The kids’ll be spending all their pocket money on stupid little rubber bands. Waste of money.’

But think about it for a second.


The Loom

Loom & Bands at the ready!
Loom & Bands at the ready! | Source

Is this a Craze?

When I saw them, I thought so. Just another craze that school children have caught onto and everyone is following because it’s the thing to do. Another money-making enterprise.

We were looking at packets of them outside a local shop. A burly security guard heard us talking about them, sidled up and said, ‘They’re really easy to make. Everyone’s doing it. Look my granddaughter made this one’, indicating a black and white bracelet on his hairy, tattooed arm. Lovely! I told him I was amazed what one could learn from a security guard.

I liked the colours, bought a couple of packets and mentioned them to my 13 year old granddaughter. It transpired she had some, was already an expert at making bracelets, as was her mother, with three year old sister rapidly catching up! So much for me thinking I was one step ahead for a change. Why don’t they keep me informed?

Soon after, I bought a loom and am learning how to use it. You can make up any design you stumble across whilst wrapping yourself in rubber knots.


Completed Bracelet with Heart Motif

My Granddaughter made this for Me!
My Granddaughter made this for Me! | Source

Processes & Skills

I still regarded it as a craze until, that is, our recent holiday with the girls mentioned above. My younger granddaughter, at 3, sat at a table for a good half an hour making a bracelet for me. She picked the colours, checked that I approved of her choice, used the loom, carefully put each band around the pegs of the loom, then used what looks like a plastic crochet hook to precisely lift up one band over another in the correct sequence until the bracelet was finished. She occasionally checked the length to see if it was right for my wrist. All this with no help at all!

This is not a craze; it is an art. It is a skill which involves several processes; careful thought regarding choices, subsequent preparation, fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, colour recognition, concentration, creativity, patience and memory. She’d been watching and consulting others in order to learn and now she chatted with Mum and sister also working at the table, whilst she wove.

Not a bad list of accomplishments for a 3 year old, let alone being wonderful practice of all those skills needed in the future. She was also practising kindness and selflessness in spending time making something for another.


Learning & other Benefits

What’s the best way to learn? Do it! Better still, enjoy doing it and doing it repeatedly without even realising you’re learning.

Children love colour, they love something different, they want to do things by themselves, they love doing things in a group. Actually, I love all that too! Looms have it all.

The icing on the cake is that they don’t cost a fortune, unlike, for example, expensive computer-based games. They are 99p a packet, containing the bands, connectors and a hook. The looms on which to construct your product cost anything up to £5 depending on how many packets of bands and other extras are included. That’s not going to break the piggy-bank. Finally, something that over-stretched parents can buy without cutting down on food.


My Verdict?

This is an excellent activity, fun, educational, sociable and creative. It might be a craze in the sense that we don’t know how long it will last but I think it’ll be around for much longer.


Cat's Cradle

One shape......
One shape...... | Source
..... to another shape
..... to another shape | Source

Remember the Cat's Cradle?

In the 50s we youngsters used to wind a knotted loop of string round our fingers, then use both thumbs and index fingers to pick two sides up, then under or over to make a new shape, taking it off someone’s fingers onto our own. Then it was the other’s turn.

The Loom Bands remind me a little of that game, though they offer more variety and creativity. The Cat’s Cradle required two people so you had to socialise in order to do it. It required imagination to change the shapes. It involved dexterity and coordination. Amazing how much fun we had with just a piece of string! That hardly cost anything, being a short length off the household ball of string which itself only cost a few pennies (as in old money ‘d’, not ‘p’!).

It was a craze but lasted several years and is one activity that is revisited when exploring traditional ‘Playground Games’ in Primary Schools, so has stood the test of time. It had its value and was good fun.


Rubik's Cube

Twist it and Get only one Colour on each Face.  Image created by Booyabazooka
Twist it and Get only one Colour on each Face. Image created by Booyabazooka | Source

Rubik's Cube

What about this craze? Was it a craze? It took skill to do it; fast reactions, fast thinking, hand-eye coordination, colour recognition. It did drive me crazy as it took me ages to do it and I only achieved it once.

It was too big and too complicated for most little ones to cope with; it requires a reasonable hand span. It did, though, inspire competitions and record-breaking. Was it a social activity? In some ways, I suppose, in that people got together to see who would be the fastest to complete the pattern.

However, once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. There is no creativity involved, the pattern is set. There is no satisfaction of being able to give your creation to a loved one as a present, to be worn proudly. Many of the skills needed to create something are not practised when wielding the Rubiks Cube. It has to be done quickly rather than taking time to produce a work of art.

The appeal was being able to complete it quickly and beat competitors.

Yes, it was a craze. Here today, gone tomorrow (mostly).


Xpogo

I Dare You!
I Dare You! | Source

Pogo Sticks

Well, this was great fun but quite dangerous, it seems. Many accidents occurred when Grandmas and Granddads had a go, just to prove they weren’t past it (they obviously failed!).

It required excellent balance, a lot of strength, stout shoes and a reasonable area in which to do it. You couldn’t just bounce round the back yard without a sore nose and grazed knuckles.

The skills involved were balance, coordination, agility, common sense and judging distance. To my mind you needed a degree in Physics to go with all that. For someone who is pretty well coordinated, good at ball games and was a good runner at one time, I failed miserably on a Pogo Stick. I also grazed my shins a lot.

Apparently it’s now one of those ‘extreme’ sports so has been modified a little from the garden or playground.

I still regard this as a craze and a crazy one, though it seems it has outgrown the definition being, unfortunately, not that short-lived.


Hula-Hoops (no, not the ones you eat)

I loved these. I was good at it. Are you getting a picture of my character yet? They came in a choice of colours as long as you wanted red, yellow, blue or green. If you were lucky you might occasionally find a stripy one.

You had to wiggle your hips and put your arms up to balance the whole body. The trick was to keep it going for as long as possible. I was a champion. No, I’m not big-headed, just telling the truth. Woe betide anyone who beat me, though. No, just kidding - maybe!

You had to have good coordination, a fine sense of rhythm and a waist for the hoops to go round. You also had to have a reasonable amount of stamina, especially if you were seeking the record. Gets a bit chilly in the playground at night.

I suppose it was a craze if you’re talking school-children in my day but the hoops are now used for fitness exercises and the like. There are many more interesting colours and designs these days. The hoops have made a come-back with children also using them for fun once more.


Bouncing Space-Hopper

Retro Space-Hopper - Cute or What? (but lethal!)
Retro Space-Hopper - Cute or What? (but lethal!) | Source
Space-hopping hoola!
Space-hopping hoola! | Source

Space-Hoppers

I thought these were old hat until I saw some in the toddlers’ gymnastics class. Space-Hoppers are the big, rubber, slightly off-round balls which have faces painted on them and rubber ‘ears’ sticking out at the top. You sit just behind the ears, hold on to those and bounce up and down. You’re supposed to be able to move forward on them.

Now, bear in mind that you have to get your balance and the angle of bounce right. If not, you’ll go backwards and get a sore head, or you’ll just tip straight over the top and look a right fool. The children are much better at it.

Aside from the intrinsic danger of using these on a hard surface, they are great for learning balance, for overcoming a child’s fear of something new. They’re close enough to the ground that any fall on a mat is hardly noticed (except if you’re an adult). They are fun. They come in bright colours. They teach sharing when you only have three in a group of thirty or so children.

A craze that has lasted, that toddlers still love having a go at, that teaches the skills of balance and spacial judgement and the sharing of toys.


So what's the overall verdict?

A good toy or activity has to be versatile. It should stretch the imagination, it should provide some opportunity for acquiring new skills and practising them. The more inventive and absorbing a new trend is, the more likely it is to make that extra transition from a mere craze to an accepted pastime.

Crazes come and go but some are so good that they have a place in history, some survive to become a ‘tradition’ or continue as an activity in their own right. Anything which teaches and practises physical and social skills has to be a good thing in my book.

What crazes do you remember fondly or otherwise? Do share them in the comments section and please tell me whether or not you think they were worth it.

As for Loom Bands, I think they have tremendous value for promoting fine motor, mental and social skills. I’m off to create the design of the century so watch this space!


Update: Disclaimer re Bands

It seems there are now some worries regarding the charms on the loom bracelets being potentially carcenogenic. The colour can seep out onto sweaty skin. I don't know if this applies to the bands themselves but so far it seems not. Care needs to be taken; I wouldn't use the charms and I'd read up on the latest reliable reports regarding the bands.

Sadly, it seems that some people discard some of the plastic bands which are then consumed by birds, fish, dogs, obviously causing harm. They are much smaller than average elastic bands but it would be a shame if people's carelessness and lack of consideration regarding the environment should be the cause of the Loom Bands' downfall.

I hope this problem can be overcome.

It's up to you!


Copyright annart (AFC) 2014 (No copying without permission; no changing of original hub)

Craze or Pastime?

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Comments 33 comments

annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

SheGetsCreative: thanks for reading and for your input. I can remember French knitting which was a bit like these looms but done on a cotton reel with pins and wool! They weren't quite so versatile, though that was a long time ago!


SheGetsCreative profile image

SheGetsCreative 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

Personally I LOVE seeing kids of all ages be creative, so if they're happy making bracelets out of tiny rubber bands, more power to 'em! I can remember making dozens of loom potholders as a kid. ;)


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, ps. Yes, the hoops were great fun. There were always competitions for duration and for the number of hoops! Ann


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Several of these are things that I was involved with ...and they seem to come in and out. The hula hoop remains popular with many and any time I give a rubiks cube it is well received. :D

I had friend who could make 3 or 4 hoops go at once.

Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

favored: yes, I enjoyed being outdoors nearly all the time. Plenty of freedom to explore the countryside on my bike and plenty of fun playing all these games. I'm not sure whether it's rose-tinted specs but it was good.

Thank you very much for your visit and comments.

Ann


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

The Hula Hoop is something that I couldn't quite master, but yet I kept trying. Lots of good fun that actually got kids outdoors. Miss those days.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

sallybea: Yes, I'm aware of the latest comments regarding toxicity; I was told it's the charms, in that the colour can seep into the skin if sweaty. I don't know about the bands themselves.

It would be a shame but if that's the case then they're going to disappear off the scene and rightly so.

I agree that it's great for children to get away from the computer - and this can be done in the open air!

Thanks so much for your visit and comments; much appreciated.

Ann


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

annart,

I love the idea that children are spending more time doing something creative as opposed to computer games. There has been a bit of controversy lately about the bands being toxic but I guess the jury is out on that one. The children will be the ones who decide:)

Sally


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

mumsgather: Yes, the boys love it too! I have great memories of the cat's cradle in the back playground at primary school; we had great fun!

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Ann


mumsgather 2 years ago

My kids are into the loom bands now. It's a craze in Malaysia as well. Even the boys seem to enjoy making them. I belong to the Cat's Cradle era myself. :)


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

rebeccamealey: There have been a lot, haven't there?! Yes, I think the hoola-hoops were one of the most difficult. Gymnasts had no problems! Thank you for the visit and for commenting. It's much appreciated.

Ann


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

An interesting collection of crazes. I've been seeing a lot of those loop bands lately. You know, I never could get the hang of hoola hooping!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Oh yes, Dolores! I remember snap bracelets too; they were very annoying for teachers and I was one of them! All these things are great fun and I hope they keep on coming; amazing how someone comes up with something new when we think there can't be anything else.

Thanks for your visit and your contribution, Dolores. Always good to see you.

Ann


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

Any craze that's a craft is great for kids of all ages. It teaches them so much and shows them that creativity is cool. I remember a craze when my boys were in elementary school - snap bracelets. They were often like little rulers that would snap against your wrist to form a bracelet. The sound drove the teachers nuts and they were banned from the school room, haha.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Faith, for your excellent input. I was amazed too at the fact the children can do the looms using two fingers.

It's interesting that many others have tried all of these; I wasn't sure how many of them were 'trans-ponded' so to speak!

Thank you so much for the votes and for taking the time to read this.

I hope you have a great weekend too, Faith.

Ann


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

I love it, and I have actually, believe it or not, tried all of these, only due to my grandchildren. My granddaughter wanted loom bands for her sixth birthday this year, and I had no clue what they were. She described them to me and her mother told me they are the latest craze. Where have I been. I went to a specialty shop and found tons!!! They even painted a special case up with her name on it and it came with a couple of bags of different colored bands and the loom. I bought extra bags of bands.

I thought this will be fun, and we tried to use the loom and I even went online to try to learn how to do it lol. The next weekend, she came up and just used two fingers and made the prettiest bracelets and necklaces really fast too.

I had plenty of hula hoops growing up and a pogo stick, which I was not coordinated enough to do it properly. I do know about the space hopper, as, again, my grands have one with the Veggie Tales' faces on it. The Rubik's Cube, oh yes ... had one and have one, but ... LOL

When I first saw that photo of the pogo stick flying through the air, I thought it was a skateboard. My son was into extreme sports and that is how he looked flying through the air on his skateboard.

Thanks for the fun hub! Voted up +++ tweeting and pinning

Hope you have a lovely weekend ahead, dear Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Victoria, for your visit and kind comment. It's never time to let a hula hoop go - great exercise and great fun!

Ann


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

The loom thing looks fun, creative, and useful! I never got into the Rubik's cube, but my friends did. I actually have a hula hoop, but it's probably time to let it go . . . . Neat hub!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Kevin, for your interesting comment and the votes.

Great to see you here this evening.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

John: Isn't it great when the grandchildren make you stuff? You've done well with all of these then. I don't remember 'click-clacks' at all; must ask around to see if any of my friends know them.

Thanks for reading and for your detailed comment. Great to have a visit from you, as always.

Ann


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was interesting Ann. I tried 2, maybe 3, of those. I thought that I might make money with the the loom (business). I tried the cats cradle, but that did not last for long since I became bored with it.

If I can find what I did with my Rubik's cube that I still have, I solved it once but I want to beat my time. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

This is a great hub Ann, these aren't too crazty. I have tried them all, except loom bands, but just last week my grandson took me aside and checked out the width of my wrist, then went away. He came back about 10 minutes later and had made me a colourful bracelet and ring using loom bands. I wore them for about a week, now I put them on when I go to visit him. I was good at the hoola hoop when younger, can't do it now. Have also tried the rubics cube but could never solve it,

pogo stick..some success. Grandkids still have space hoppers. Do you remember "click clacks? they were basically two had balls on a piece of string that looped around your ankles or wrists and you spun them so they clicked together, but more often crashed them into your ankles and wrists....painful.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

The Rubik's cube has stood the test of time, I think. The loom bands sound like an interesting and stimulating hobby. Great hub!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

DDE: Thanks for reading and for your comment. They are all fun things in their own right which is great. Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

I agree totally, tobusiness. Much more productive and good for the body and mind! Thanks for your contribution.

Ann


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I tried a few and did not stick by these short fun time activity.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Anything that keeps young hands busy, minds active and away from the cell phone is OK in my book. I think it's great to see the kids actually creating something, good for them!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Rachael, for reading and for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the hula hoops and pogo sticks. I just couldn't get to grips with the latter; they came along too late for me! Enjoy your evening.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Must've been a British thing, then, bill. We have some strange ideas here!

The loom's not just for girls so of course you should have a go. Do you have them there? If so, Bev had better get out and buy one quickly; she might start a craze all on her own!

You have a great week too!

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Frank. Glad you found it fun. We have hula-hoops here that are like crisps but shaped like a wide ring. The kids love them.

Many thanks for visiting me this evening and for your comment.

ann


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

For me, it was hula hoops and pogo sticks and what fun they were to spend time with friends. Great hub!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

A space hopper? Where have I been, Ann? I've never heard of them. Sheez, I really need to get out more. :) As for the loom, I'd give it a go. If I mention it to Bev she'll go out and buy one, so I think I'll stay quiet about it.

Have a splendid week my friend.

bill


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

i dont think it is at all crazy, but good clean fun.. what hoola hoops are edible.. maybe im not with the times LOL fun hub ann :)

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