Learning and looming: Six lessons your child can learn while creating loom bracelets

Elastic-band loom bracelets have quickly become a must have item in schools all around the country. Here are six great skills your children are learning as they work on all those bracelets!

Elastic-band loom bracelets are creative and fun as well as full of real educational value! Photo credit: Pixabay.

Elastic-band loom bracelets are creative and fun as well as full of real educational value! Photo credit: Pixabay.

There are many great reasons to encourage your children’s love of the elastic-band looms available in craft stores. Loom bracelets are trendy accessories and require children to craft their own! Here are six great skills children work on as they create their newest bracelets.

Fine motor skills- Placing all those tiny bands correctly and manipulating them with the hook is a great way to build children’s fine motor skills. Holding the hook correctly requires a tripod grip, the important three finger grip used to hold a pencil correctly. Even sorting the bands by color and attaching them to the correct pegs supports use of small muscle groups in the hands and fingers. The way the hook is held is known as a pincer grasp. The looms require the use of both hands, which builds bi-lateral hand-eye coordination. Michigan State University Extension includes these critical fine-motor skills among those needed for school success.

Math skills- The most obvious math skill supported by using an elastic band loom is that of patterning. Children must decide on loom patterns, and then select bands accordingly. Bracelets with increasingly complex patterns require children to sort, select and plan ahead to complete accurately. Mistakes are apparent in the completed bracelet, showing children the importance of paying attention. Furthermore, many children follow instructional videos that guide them through complicated shapes to make their bracelets such as hexagons and rhombus as well as more basic shapes such as diamonds and rectangles.

Reading skills- Reading and understanding informational text is a critical skill in children’s literacy development. The Common Core State Standards include informational texts as a component of the English Language Arts and Learning Standards. Learning to read, comprehend and follow written directions is an important life skill and loom bracelet directions offer a great starting point!

Following directions- In order to complete the complicated elastic-band loom bracelets, children must be able to follow complicated multi-step directions. Children and caregivers can learn more about a child’s learning styles as they follow written directions or instructional videos to guide them through the many steps to creating a bracelet. Instructional videos run well over five minutes, requiring children to remain engaged the entire time. Missing a step can cause an entire bracelet to not turn out correctly, so attention is critical!

Patience and follow through- Elastic-band loom bracelets are not quick or easy to create. Children can easily spend an hour working on a bracelet, only to make one small mistake and have the entire creation unravel. It can be a very frustrating experience for children, but when they complete a bracelet, it is very rewarding! The sense of accomplishment when a child completes an entire bracelet is a fantastic way to build their self-esteem.

Creativity- MSU Extension believes that creativity is an important component of children’s development. Creative pursuits allow children to explore self-expression and support mental growth by allowing children to expand their ways of thinking, utilize problem-solving skills and try out new ideas. Children who may be reluctant to engage in arts such as painting, might find the looms to be a fun and entertaining activity. Show your children your appreciation for their creativity by acknowledging their efforts and the results!

Michigan residents can be proud that the original elastic-band loom, the Rainbow Loom and the similar product the Wonder Loom, were both created by a Wixom,  Mich., resident, Cheong Choon Ng. Ng, a former Nissan crash-test engineer and parent of young girls, designed the product after watching his girls twist small ponytail holder elastics into bracelets. An investment of their family’s entire savings has paid off with a tremendous success and the business remains Michigan-based.

As your children enjoy creating Rainbow Loom band bracelets, parents can rest assured they are engaging in a fun and creative pursuit that has real educational value!

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