“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.
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.
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.
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?