Loom Bands – Healthy Craze Or Playground Scourge?
The latest playground craze to sweep the schools of the UK is loom bands. Most parents with children between 6 and 12 will be familiar (possibly annoyingly so) with the little bands that seem to get everywhere. Schools have the usual problem when a playground craze makes it into the classroom but we’d argue that these simple bands are actually great for children.
Let me explain. From the age of about 6, children are trying to figure out who they are, where they belong, what they like and how they feel about things; they’re developing their sense of identity. A huge factor in this is the development of social skills, resulting in healthy, rewarding friendships. Shared activity, gifting and common frames of reference all contribute hugely to the development of friendships, and this type of craft activity provides that.
Aren’t we always saying that our children are spending too much time in front of a screen and not actually ‘doing’ anything? Making something produces a huge amount of satisfaction and boost confidence. Seeing something through to the end also promotes perseverance, something that is on the slide in today’s world of instant gratification.
Also, they’re fiddley little things aren’t they? Actually that’s a good thing- making these bands is strengthening their hand and finger muscles and refining their motor skills which will result in better control of things such as a pencil. We’re not saying that playing with loom bands will magically improve a child’s scruffy hand writing but it all helps.
In addition, it’s one of the few crazes that is enjoyed by both girls and boys.
Obviously, balance is key and schools with uniforms quite reasonably say these bands don’t form part of the uniform, but banning them completely is missing an opportunity to help shyer children boost their confidence, get children back to what is essentially a traditional play activity and improve their fine motor skills into the bargain.
Tags: arts and craft toys, child development, friendships, latest craze, loom bands, playground craze, toys
Categorised in: Toys and Play
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer