Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Stretching the Imagination with Loombands- Playing and Upcycling

Remember how a few months ago these colourful bits of elastic were everywhere you looked? My pre-teen nieces and nephews have alerted me to the fact that the loomband fad has officially passed. Nobody has let my four-year-old Noodle know this though and she still loves them. Truth be told, I encourage it as I think they are great for building fine motor skills in younger children. Also, the shops all have them at a steal at the moment.

When Noodle first brought them home, I needed to watch a couple of Youtube vidoes to figure out the basics, since the Chinglish instructions were a bit confusing. Once we got into it, they get rather addictive. We stuck to the basics with Noodle but I have also made one or two of the fancier braided ones for her myself (with her helping by sorting colours for me). We have stuck to straightforward bracelets, rings and pencil grips but the possibilities are endless.

Loomband bracelets made by Noodle and I

The real dilemma at hand... what to do with all these space occupying gremlins once the kids no longer play with them? Now that they are not exactly trending anymore, I am sure there are many households with a surplus of these rainbow monstrosities.  Apparently they are not made of a material that cannot be recycled so once the little have discarded them, re-purposing them is the way to go for green families.

Some upcycling ideas for loombands:

  • They work well as hair ties for fine braided hairstyles (or use a chain of them for larger braids or as a headband).
  •  They can be used to tie stacks of banknotes, business cards etc.
  • They can be used as ties for small plastic packets or in lunchboxes to hold cutlery together.
  •  I have not tried this yet, but would like to try using it to make a squishy toddler bump friendly tablet case.
  • Cut them up and use for cut and paste art activities on cardboard (black for hair, green for grass etc).
  • Remember that game we played way back in the day? England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales? The one where you jump in and out of elastic bands? I have seen it has made a comeback with the older kids in the family and that they have made one extra long round loomband rope for this purpose. They also use the rope for skipping, limbo games and the list goes on.