- Arts and Design
10 Reasons to Love the Rainbow Loom
The other day I asked my 6 year-old daughter which of her toys she would pick if she only could have one. "Definitely my Rainbow Loom," she answered.
"What make it your favorite toy?" I pursued. I was especially curious since she'd been playing with it almost daily for two months, and wondered if her reasons for adoring the Rainbow Loom were similar to mine. Before I gave in to the loom band fad and got one for my daughter, I never thought that a bunch of plastic posts and some colorful rubber bands could be so intriguing.
I think it's hands-down the best toy purchase we've ever made. Why? Here are some of my reasons:
- Connecting with other kids about looming. So many girls (and boys too) are into making Rainbow Loom crafts. While I think there are some popular toys that are close to worthless, for this one, I think it's fantastic that kids can connect over how to make cool new patterns or new charms. My daughter and her cousin have deepened their relationship over a mutual appreciation for looming skills and cool new jewelry they've made.
- Placing and looping the bands teaches patience and diligence. While Rainbow Looming isn't rocket science, it does take a good amount of direction-following and working hard to achieve a goal to learn. Whether your child learns via YouTube videos or a loom pattern book, if they skip part of the directions or do something out of order, their creation falls apart when they take it off the loom. Don't get me wrong, that can be super-frustrating to the child and as a result, their parent. Believe me, I have personal experience in this department. However, following directions, patience and attention to detail are essential life skills that will serve your child well in hundreds of ways. Would you like your surgeon to have excellent attention to detail? How about the electrician rewiring your house? The person filling out your income tax forms? Kids can easily see how their diligence is rewarded with a cool new piece of jewelry or a cute charm.
- Working together with your child. The Rainbow Loom is a toy/craft that has a lot of potential for kids and parents to learn together. TIP: If your child is younger elementary age, it's really beneficial for you to learn how to Rainbow Loom along with them in case they get stuck on part of their creation so you can coach them through what to do next. Depending on your child's age and learning style, it may help them to have you walk through the first couple of bracelets/necklaces/charms with them until they get the hang of it. Of course, there are hundreds of videos on how to create the popular patterns as well as tons of novelty items, so you and your child can learn from those too.
- Multiple Skill Levels. The simple chain bracelet is easy enough for adept 4 year-olds to conquer, and there are enough patterns for tweens and even adults to enjoy. It's a toy that truly grows with your child. There are times where I want one too. My daughter finally asked me to make her a bracelet, and I liked the satisfaction of crafting one for her too.
- Fostering Creativity and Critical Thinking Skills. For all the direction-following, the flip side of Rainbow Looming is the creativity kids can express in choosing colors for their creations, finding new techniques to try, combining patterns, or even making up their own ways to connect dozens of colorful, stretchy bands. My daughter got the idea to make bracelets and collars for all her stuffed animals.
- Competence and Confidence. There's something to be said about learning a new skill and being able to use it well. I'm all for encouraging our kids, which can be especially meaningful when it's about something concrete (like a skill that's been mastered, the kind way they treated their sister yesterday or the improvement in their spelling).
- Portability. Especially with a carrying case, your child can loom on the go. Time in the car on road trips flies when my daughter does Rainbow Loom in the back seat. Long wait at the doctor's office? Make bracelets! Bring the loom in its case to hold all the accessories while looming.
- Pure Entertainment Factor. I love spending time with my daughter and actively playing with her, but it is helpful that she has an activity that she can do on her own for longer periods of time while I need to focus my attention on, say, making dinner.
- Wearable Art. It's easy for kids to show off their creations around their wrists, necks, ankles and backpack zippers. I enjoy crafts a lot, but the best ones in my book are those that are practical...you can wear them or use them, and most of the loom band creations fit the bill nicely. Added bonus: they can share them and/or trade them with friends.
- My Daughter Loves It. What did my daughter say was her reason for the Rainbow Loom being her favorite toy? "I like that I can make so much stuff with it. I can give presents to my friends, and I can even do advanced level stuff." 'Nuff said.
We've got this case, and it's got plenty of room for the loom and tons of bands. It latches securely so items don't go rolling over into other compartments.
I know there are other people who would say differently, but in my opinion, it's worth getting the Rainbow Loom brand bands. We've tried imitations, and some are too thick and some break too easily. We like C-clips better than S-clips for holding loom band creations together.
Another feature that I think is fabulous about Rainbow Loom crafts is the vast resource of how-to videos out there. Here's just a sampling of directions on creating some of our favorite patterns.
Here's the basic Single Chain Rainbow Loom bracelet. You definitely want to start here.
This pattern just needs two pegs of a loom to make it, and it's easy to make as long or short as you want.
This pattern is sort of a mark of achievement...it's one that lots of kids that we know aspire to know how to do. My niece and daughter both felt really proud of making their first one of these.
This is what my daughter and I are going to try next. There are dozens upon dozens of cute charm patterns out there.
This bracelet is super cool, and according to my 6 year old, easier than it looks.