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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Rainbow Bracelets

“Rainbow Bracelets” are bracelets made with small rubber bands, usually on a loom. It’s quite popular, and I’m sure you’ve seen them.

 

bracelets 300x300 Rainbow Bracelets

 

Right now, my fascination with Rainbow Bracelets is the reaction to them.

Minecraft became popular with kids and adults, and what did I see? Many articles and posts about how schools and libraries can use something that kids are excited about. Some posts are about the “yay, it’s fun, let’s promote the fun” and others are about “there are some great skills that can be learned from Minecraft so it’s actually educational.”

Rainbow Bracelets became popular with kids and adults, and what did I see? Not much, to be honest.

Here are the searches I made on Saturday. As you can see, Minecraft library programs? Over 1,000,000. Rainbow Bracelet ones? Less than 5,000.

searches 300x300 Rainbow Bracelets

 

When I changed my search to be school / education, Minecraft gave me actual resources. Rainbow Bracelets gave me stories about how they are so distracting, some schools are banning them.

schools 300x300 Rainbow Bracelets

In looking for ideas about the types of skills involved with making Rainbow Bracelets, I found an interesting article and a useful post.

The Times Free Press of Chattanooga reported on the Bracelet Boom: Rainbow Loom trend catching the imagination of young area students. Here are some of the quotes I saw that could be used to build programs and lessons: “kids love trading the bracelets“. You know another word for “trade”? “Barter.” It’s an exchange. It’s economics. It’s about placing value on something and determining how and when to exchange that for something else of like value. It’s business.

endless number of designs they can make. They are able to really push their creative limits. We’ve seen kids that have made handbags, hats, etc.” Here: designs, both in terms of what type of bracelets are made as well the colors used, but also in taking something that is one purpose — bracelets — and seeing what else the loom and loom techniques can produce. There is creativity here, yes, but design is also about making and planning.

fine motor skills” So, again, skill sets beyond it’s a pretty craft.

Note: the person saying most of this is a salesperson at a store, so some people may want to consider that in whether or not they agree with the above. I also found it interesting that the loom itself was invented by an engineer.

The post I found that lists specific skills was at Teach Mama and gave “5 reasons kids need it and parents love it.” Go read the full post, but in brief: math skills; reading skills; fine motor skills; relationship building; and confidence building.

A couple of things I’ll add, based on my own observations of bracelet making. Finding videos that show different and new techniques is part of making bracelets, so I’ll add both information searching and evaluation of resources; and then making your own how-to videos. Which is about making, editing, and promoting one’s own videos.

I’ll confess my concerns: I wonder if Minecraft is viewed as more desirable because it’s technology and it’s boys. (But the reality is it is also girls playing — yet I’ve seen more than one article that makes me think it’s viewed as “boy” activity.) While Rainbow Bracelets are art and it’s girls. (But the reality is it’s also boys. But “bracelets” = “jewelry” = “girls” in many people’s minds.) And, well, what has more value in society?

Why is it that Minecraft is inspiring more programs than Rainbow Bracelets?

And what type of Rainbow Bracelet programs have you done or do you plan to do?

 

 

share save 171 16 Rainbow Bracelets
About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Mary Gardner says:

    My local library has neither Minecraft nor Rainbow bracelets programs while my county library system has both. The Minecraft meeting at the county library was actually started by me and another parent after our kids (3 girls and 1 boy) became obsessed with Minecraft. We wanted to gets the kids together to see what would spark when they were physically in the same room playing Minecraft. While I’ve noticed that it is mostly girls that I know making rainbow bracelets, the boys are wearing them also, and seem to be fascinated with the process of making them. I think if more boys saw things other than bracelets being made, they would become more interested in the actual construction. I mean, what young boy doesn’t like playing with rubber bands :)

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      Mary, my niece and nephew have been obsessed with Minecraft — I’m not sure if their school does anything, to be honest. But I know places like SLJ have posted program ideas, et.

      They also introduced me to the rainbow/rubber band bracelets. While looking this up, I found about options that don’t use a purchased loom. One doing a variation of finger knitting; another using markers; and also creating one’s own loom using either nails or pushpins.

  2. I just had a fascinating conversation with one of our library members who works in the mental health field. Her wrist was covered with Rainbow bracelets. She told me about how she makes them with the young people in her practice, and while they sit on the floor and work together, the young people open up about what is going on in their lives. She told me about the young girl who was afraid to go to school, so they made a “power bracelet” – one that only the girl could make and would be the only one just like it anywhere. One that she didn’t have to hide, that she could be proud of and tell everyone about how she made it and it gave her power. It so clearly illustrated to me how craft is NOT frivolous. There is meaning and value in what we make, whether it is a virtual building or a paper plate puppet or a colorful bracelet.

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      I love hearing more ways that a craft/project can have influence and power and meaning beyond the just “1 2 3 create” (which also has value.)

  3. Chris Rodas says:

    I did a google search “rainbow loom” library program and got 41,700 hits – a bit better. According to wikipedia, Minecraft has been around since 2011, so it has had more time to catch on, and catch the notice of librarians. I am not sure how long rainbow loom bracelets have been around, but it seems to be a recent phenomenon, taking off in the last 6 months, at least in my neck of NJ. I am fascinated by how the rainbow loom has spread as a phenomenon – it seems to me to have started as a grassroots low tech activity, but it has taken advantage of things like youtube to share ideas and skills. I get your concerns. I just don’t want everybody jumping to conclusions.

    • Elizabeth Burns says:

      I realized later that my search should have been “rubber band”, also, because rainbow loom is linked to that particular loom and there are other brands/generic descriptions.

      I only just saw the loom, like you note. And from some of the reactions on Twitter, it looks like this isn’t something that is country wide. At least, not yet.

      I saw someone who was already planning their summer reading calendar (I KNOW), wondering if this would be good to include because will it be popular next summer?

      Is this a fad that will disappear or a trend to stay on top of/ in front of?

  4. jp says:

    Give the rainbow loom some time. Minecraft was released In 2009, and didn’t start getting real momentum until 2011.

    Minecraft, also, is a storytelling media (medium?) while rainbow looms aren’t.

    Finally, to continue to make bracelets, you need to continue purchasing rubber bands. Minecraft on a tablet was a 1 – time $6.99 purchase, on xbox or pc it is higher but once purchased, you can move forward “for free”. Once you’re out of rubber bands, you either have to purchase more or give up.

  5. Jennie says:

    I think the time aspect is a big factor– I just found out that rainbow bracelets were a thing a few months ago and they don’t seem super popular here yet.

    And cost is worth considering.

    But, libraries do a lot of craft programs already– I’m wondering if it’s just getting folded into preexisting programs?

    I hope they catch on here though– I’d LOVE to do a program with these!

  6. Denise says:

    I am trying a Friendship Bracelet themed program but plan to include Rainbow Looms but am definitely looking for a good way to make our own looms to save money!

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