As the previous weekend had been so lovely the kids had plans to spend the half term holiday playing outside in the paddling pool. Unfortunately as the holiday loomed the weather forecast had other plans. I know that given the chance the kids would spend the entire holiday glued to the screen of a computer or an iPad so I wanted to find something to occupy them that wouldn’t cost the earth but didn’t need plugging in!
We decided to have a shopping trip on Saturday with a strict budget of £5. The only rules about what they could spend it on was that it could not have batteries or a plug.
The girls had come home from school with bracelets that their friends had made for them from Loom Bands so they decided that they would get some of these. We managed to pick some up really cheaply and we also visited the pound shop and purchased a plastic compartment box to keep them all in. It is possible to buy more expensive packs that contain peg boards and other bits and pieces but these are not necessary to make basic bracelets and necklaces.
Each pack came with 300 bands, a hook and a pack of S clips to join them together. The first job when they got them home was to sort them all out into the box and this took them the best part of half and hour.
Once they had them all sorted they started creating. No 4 started making the simplest type of bracelet using her fingers. To start it off you twist one of the bands and put it over your index finger and middle finger. You then place another band, without twisting this time, above the first and pull each side of the first band over the top of the second band and into the gap between your fingers. You then add another band above the one on your fingers and repeat until the band is the desired length.
This type of band can be created really quickly and No 4 loved making patterns using different colours. You finish the band off by hooking both ends of the last band onto one side of the S hook and hooking the other side onto the twisted band that you started with.
No 2 was busy making the slightly more complicated version that results in a thicker band. To make these, instead of just having two bands at a time on your fingers you use three. After twisting the first band and placing it on your fingers you then place two more untwisted bands above it and pull the bottom band over both of the others before adding another band.
I had a go at these and my fingers very rapidly grew tired (The girls never complained though so I assume this is just because I am getting old!). To avoid this the bands can also be made using two hooks instead of your fingers.
No 4 was also soon making the more complicated version and by the following morning she had created several bracelets, some ankle bracelets, some rings and a hair band.
If you are feeling more adventurous there are lots of tutorials on YouTube that tell you how to make all sorts of objects with the bands but in terms of keeping the kids occupied the simple bracelets are great.
No 3 didn’t fancy making himself any bracelets so he decided to buy himself a Scraperfoil set. I remember having these when I was a child and I hadn’t seen them for years. Now No 3 is not known for his patience and immediately after opening the box he was scraping away at the picture without using the little piece of the card to practice first. It wasn’t long though before he realised that maybe he should have practised making narrow lines with the scraper first and the results after this were much more delicate!
The kids had a lovely time for a fairly small amount of money and I was really pleased that they had not spent all day in front of a screen.
If you fancy having a go with the Loom Bands yourself or would like to keep your kids entertained for a while I have three packs of 300 bands with hooks and S clips to give away to one winner. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter to enter.
Giveaway is open to UK residents and all entries will be checked.