We apologize for the long hiatus since our last post — we’ve been running our dissertation experiment! It’s still ongoing, but so far we’ve learned all kinds of cool stuff about gender, spatial and mechanical learning, and child development. We’ll post an update about preliminary findings when we have something more official to say. In the meantime, today’s post is about one preliminary finding unrelated to the focus of the experiment: young children LOVE Rainbow Loom.
Today’s Kid Crafts post is going to be a bit different from the usual tutorials that make up this series. Mostly, I’d like to convince you to run out and get Rainbow Loom for a child in your life.
So what is Rainbow Loom?
Rainbow Loom is a plastic loom on which to weave bracelets from rubber bands. I heard about Rainbow Loom back in the Fall when I met a little girl who was quite skilled with bracelet-making. I was lucky enough to receive one of her Penn State blue and white bracelets as a gift before I was admitted to the hospital in November, so I can personally attest to the durability of the kind of bracelet your child can make with this.
Why is Fair Play so excited about Rainbow Loom?
Weaving a pattern draws on a number of spatial skills. We’ve written previously about how important those are to math success and future STEM success. Toys traditionally marketed to girls don’t generally require spatial skills. Additionally, weaving the bracelets draws on fine motor skills. While toys traditionally marketed to girls often do require fine motor skills, toys traditionally marketed to boys often do not. Rainbow Loom is a win-win in that it draws on two domains of skills that are great for kids — spatial and fine motor — and which boys and girls may not get from more traditionally gendered toys.
Are boys AND girls excited about Rainbow Loom?
We’ve learned from the kids we’ve met in our dissertation work that boys are as excited about Rainbow Loom as girls! This is pretty cool, because as much as grown-ups try to foster the gender fair thing, kids may still state gender stereotyped interests in certain things, especially toys that are marketed with a lot of information about who is “supposed” to play with them. The Rainbow Loom box is fairly neutral — it’s rainbow, after all.
While we first met older, school-age children who enjoyed weaving with Rainbow Loom, the children participating in our research study are 4-6 years old. They love Rainbow Loom and are successful with it as well. Thus, although the box says 8+, younger children can be successful and enjoy it as well. There are instructional videos on the Rainbow Loom webpage that guide children through beginner, intermediate, and advanced styles of weaving.
Great! Where can I find Rainbow Loom??
- You can buy Rainbow Loom here (and support Fair Play with all of these links),
- you can buy extra bands here or on the Rainbow Loom company webpage,
- and you can buy a handy carrying case here!
As always, you can support Fair Play and find all of these items and more craft items and gender-fair toys in our Amazon storefront.
Kid Crafts is a series in which we typically feature child-friendly, often seasonally-inspired craft tutorials. Today we focused on a toy children can use for crafting. Leave a comment at Request a Review or on our Facebook page if you’re looking for something specific!