When my daughter started Kindergarten a few months ago I knew that she would be exposed to all kinds of new and different experiences: new clothing styles, interesting food in the lunchroom and of course different toys that kids were talking about and playing with.
I was pretty entertained by her reports on all the cool, crazy things the other kids were up to. She is, like every 5 year old, especially interested in the older kids and observes their every move in the lunchroom, in the halls and at recess. A few months into school she even started sporting a hip little “side pony”, because of course, that’s how the bigger girls wear their hair. She was definitely noticing the fads that were sweeping through her school. This said, I wasn’t too surprised when I started noticing a slew of brightly colored, crafted bracelets on her arm and attached to her backpack; special gifts from kids at school. These vibrant and crafty little creations, she informed me, were bracelets made from tiny rubber bands on something called a “Rainbow Loom” and all the kids were making them.
Once my daughter started wearing these, I began to notice them on tons of boys and girls, young and older on the playground and pretty much everywhere. Our “tween” neighbors had bright keychains and necklaces and told me that girls and boys in middle school were coming up with an array of patterns for similar rubber band concoctions. These rubber band creations were obviously a fad that had taken off in our town. So when I asked around I learned that the tool that is used to make these wonderful items is actually a toy called the Rainbow Loom. I was told that kids of all ages had discovered the Rainbow Loom that this trend had been around for a few months, and was continually growing in popularity. It is currently so popular, in fact, that the Rainbow Loom has received a lot of press and is a finalist in three major award categories in the world of toys: Activity Toy of The Year, Girl Toy of The Year, and Special Toy of The Year. Geez…how did I miss this? I picked up a kit at The Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company and brought it home right away.
Unwrapping the package I had flashbacks to my childhood; I remember making dozens of friendship bracelets from pretty embroidery thread. Patterns and colors were invented and passed on from friend to friend and I remember the satisfaction of customizing each creation, making the bracelets seem personal and special. This is what I liked about The Rainbow Loom right off the bat; the ability to personalize and make a statement with your creations. The kit comes with a variety of colored bands to start with (600+ to be exact) and you are free to choose the color combinations. It also contains the little tool you need to work with the bands, a handy instruction page to get you started, the “c clips” that close up the bracelets and, of course, the loom. That’s it: no batteries required- which is a huge plus in my book. The whole idea of making stuff on a simple loom brought me right back to those carefree days of my youth- snapping bubble gum and tying endless knots for those friendship bracelets we loved so.
The Rainbow Loom package states it designed for 8+ years, and as I mentioned, it’s a huge hit with “older” kids, but after a brief introduction on YouTube and a quick demo, my 5 year old daughter was able to bust out about a dozen of the “single pattern” bracelets solo. She loved choosing the colors for her friends and family and was so pleased at how they came together, “like magic”. There are several options for bracelet patterns that are provided with the loom kit and many, many helpful websites and specific YouTube channels that provide project ideas for the Rainbow Loom. It’s easy to resupply the bands when you run out; they are sold separately in all sorts of color combos and are very affordable. For all you orderly folks, there is even a special case available which is designed to keep your loom, bands and tools expertly organized. The Rainbow Loom is a great gift idea for boys and girls. Kids aged 5-105 (with a little assistance for the smaller hands) can use the Rainbow Loom to express their creativity and show love for their friends and family. This is one fad that I’m a big fan of; I really hope it lasts longer in my house than the side pony.
ToyLovin’Mama, is Nelle Devitt- a mother to two playful, energetic (always) and well-behaved (most-days) children who lives with her family in Bozeman. Nelle is originally from Vermont but moved out west for college 18 years ago and never quite made it back (she married a “Westerner” and transplanted to the mountainous beauty of Montana). During college Nelle received a degree in English Literature and wrote for the college paper while earning a paycheck at the original Great Rocky Mountain Toy Company; the perfect day job. The toys and the general joyfulness of the toy store’s owners and clients stuck with her and continue to influence Nelle to this day. She is happy to talk toys anytime and is always up for “play-testing” with friends and family.