The Rainbow Loom Craze: Kids Need Real World Engagement

11 Months ago by

One in three kids now learn to use a mobile phone or tablet before they can talk. And, 29% start using gadgets as toddlers and have likely mastered them by primary school.

While technological know-how has increased for these youngsters, basic life and motor skills have taken a backseat. It used to be a childhood right of passage to learn to ride your bike without training wheels. Over the last decade, this once-beloved childhood activity has seen a 20% decline in participation.

It is a curious thing, then, when something like the Rainbow Loom rubber band bracelet making kit hits the scene and becomes the hottest activity for kids all over the country. There is no touch screen. No USB port. No batteries, even.

Just the plastic loom with its rows of carefully calculated pegs, a hook and a few bags of colorful rubber bands.

rainbow loom

Kids are hungry for activities that will engage their minds and bodies in ways motion controllers and virtual worlds can’t. They don’t even realize it, but they are craving very elementary life skills childhood is supposed to teach. Basic motor skills. Social and emotional skills. First-hand, in-this-world engagement.

No tablet or smartphone can replace:

The nervous, excited and wobbly first bike rides after the training wheels have been taken off.  The overwhelming sense of independence as you zip down the street, wind in your hair, pedaling like a maniac.

Nor can they replace:

Feeling like a total creative genius after successfully completing a new bracelet on the Rainbow Loom. Blowing your own mind by creating a new pattern. Feeling your heart grow at least one size after seeing the smile on the loner kid’s face when you give him the bracelet you made.

Rainbow Loom Hands

Tech devices have their very important place and aren’t going anywhere. However, instead of altogether replacing real-world lessons from childhood, find ways to combine them with hands-on activities, like the Rainbow Loom. Use the computer or tablet to watch instructional videos to learn new techniques or share your new creations with the world using #michaelsrainbowloom.


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9 Like This Post

  • Cheryl Geiger

    Right ON! How do we make this article go VIRAL? I’d like to send it to every parent, caregiver and teacher in the world. Thanks for such thoughtful and inspiring words.

    • Carmen

      You need to post this article on your FB page so we can share it with everyone raising kids today. I bought one of the rainbow looms for my oldest grandchild, I have 3 and all ride scooters and bykes!! Very hands on.

    • Renee Beard

      Hey there, Cheryl! Thanks for the nice compliment. We are working to get the link posted to our Facebook page now!

  • Pam Spector

    I have just bought a lot of bands and a total of 3 looms at micheals. My grandson has gone crazy with what
    he is making. What I would like to see micheals come up with besides the books I have bought from
    Micheals is some books on animals, like the panda, duck, turtle, etc. He wants to go further than what
    he has been doing. He will be 9 years old in 5 days. Thank you so much for carring this craft for not only
    the kids, but the adults as well. Pam Spector

    • Pam Spector

      You are good to go with my comment. Pam Spector

      • lisa

        you can always check on I learned a lot of cool patterns from there

    • Renee Beard

      Hi, Pam! It sounds like you and your grandson are really pretty advanced looters! That is so great. We would love to see some your creations. You can share them on our Facebook page or on Instagram #michaelsrainbowloom

  • Gladys

    I think its all in the parents. My kids have all Apple Gadgets, from ipads to ipods to computer. They still ride there bikes, we go for walks and they love there video games and crazy looms. But we have schedules. Times set when they can do things. Too much of something is bad but they can have and do a little of everything. My kids are 9 and 10.

    • Renee Beard

      Gladys – you are so right! Timing things out is such a great idea and sets expectations for the kids ahead of time.

  • lori

    I agree 100 percent! Kids needs to have a blance of all things. Technolgy is wonderful but it does not replace all the fun and learning of have a hobby or doing crafts. Kids have so much fun and they don’t even knoe they are learning as well. And it gets them away from the t.v and you can sit arounf the table and talk , laugh and have fun quality time with your children!

    • Renee Beard

      Lori – yes! The balancing act – so true. I really love Gladys’ idea above about setting a schedule for certain things. We try to do this at home with our son and daughter for computer time on the weekends. This helps keep US, as parents, more engaged with what the kiddos are doing and fosters more family time as you mentioned.

  • http://hotmail Barbara Phipps

    I am a grandmother of 3, ages 9, 8, 5. We love the Rainbow Loom.

    • Renee Beard

      Wow, Barbara! You must keep very busy with four grandchildren. I had heard of children as young as 6 really having fun with the Rainbow Loom, but I am intrigued to hear about your 3 year old grandchild’s experience with it.

      • Miche

        Hi Renee just thought I would mention to you that Barb Phillips has 3 grandchildren . Their ages are 9, 8, and 5. Just helping you out. :-)

  • Ginny

    How about the adults also get off the technology and go outside and ride a bike with the kids?
    Play freeze tag, play catch, go for a walk around the neighborhood, play a board game, learn to play an instrument.
    Sitting inside with a rainbow loom is good for a while, but get the kids active in something that will benefit their health as well.

    • Renee Beard

      You said it, Ginny.

      You make some really good points. I have definitely been guilty of playing around on Facebook or sending work emails while we’re at the park instead of actively participating WITH the kids.

  • Mary

    It’s a sad sight to see everyone glued to a screen, even with headphones on so they block out the world. I walked into a dept. store the other day. I stopped and started to laugh about what I saw. It was 4 men standing around all with their heads down punching away at their smart phones. Some looked up and asking what I was laughing about. Some agreed with me that people are getting to be slaves to electronics.

    Kids are losing creativity and don’t even want to go out to throw a ball or ride their bikes etc. I know I grew up when there wasn’t any electronics and we only had 3 TV stations, when we finally bought a TV – and we only had 1 TV. But, the electronic age has become epidemic to the other extent. Those machines are wonderful in what they can do…but not all day long. People cannot even walk down the street with their heads up and looking around. They wouldn’t even see danger coming. Sooo sad. I find myself staying on the computer when I have things that need to be done. So, I look at the clock and limit myself now. Parents – break the habit with your kids!

    • Renee Beard

      Interesting observations and GREAT insights, Mary. I ran across this video that is poignant while poking fun at the situation.

  • Holly Mabee

    beautiful story and video. SO true for my children and most of their friends who come to visit!
    xox :0)

  • http://google Florence Landino

    This is a great article. It is important for children to use their mind and hand skills…Like
    I think we should have more technical schools…

  • LD

    “seeing the smile on the LONER kid’s face”? There has got to be a better way to word that no?

  • Ann Shulman

    My granddaughter spent most of last Sunday with her loom and her iPad producing some very pretty bracelets. She is going to sell them and raise money for the local children’s hospital. She also loves to be outside and ride her bike but living in Canada this is very difficult at this time of year. The loom seems to have taken over from her knitting at the moment. She is 9 years old.

    • Jillian

      What a sweet gesture by your granddaughter!

  • Sara Fergang

    I love this! Rainbow loom is just amaizing

  • Sara Fergang

    Rainbow loom is awesome

  • Sara Fergang

    I just love rainbow loom

    • Angela Enriquez

      I totally agree with you, Sara! Rainbow loom is perfect for my family. We all love our unique creations we make with our rainbow loom kits. We have 2 looms, and a big pile of bands!

  • http://Thisone Claudia

    Hey cool idea mind if I steal hehehe so I’d like to ask what the styles are called and how do make them

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