Monday, 14 July 2014

Somewhere over the rainbow

No longer do I seek a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, instead I long for a house free from infinite quantities of multicoloured mini elastic bands. Everywhere I look from inside the washing machine to the hob, from the sofa to in between the sheets and the mattresses of my boys beds there are loom bands.

Not since the Rubix Cube that gripped the country in an obsessional fever back in the 80s has a toy craze appeared so all pervasive. You cannot go out without encountering an industrious child beavering away on their tiny loom to create garish bracelets, rings and even more inventively, hard-to-identify elastic band animals to hang from their clothing.

Mothers at school have discard tennis bracelets, watches or any other type of bangle in favour of hand-crafted loom band jewellery that their children would be mortally offended if they failed to show off on their wrist. Even dads have their hairy arms embellished with pink and white knitted bracelets kindly made by their offspring.

Invented by Cheong Choon Ng who, like many parents before him, identified that most children would far rather play with rubbish than with actual toys, and capitalised on his daughters' fondness for making things out of elastic bands by creating Rainbow Looms. A smart move that has netted him millions, and discovered the secret formula to get children away from screens.

While I am filled with admiration for his ingenuity, I cannot forgive him the plastic detritus that he has spread across the house. I will not forgive him until I stop waking up spitting out elastic bands carelessly discarded in bed, until I stop having to wear woven elastic bands biting into my wrists and until I stop having daughter envy when I see the creations made by my friends' girls compared with the sorry attempts made by my sons!

However to address this final problem I have found a secret weapon as publishers have been relatively quick to cotton on to this trend and I have come across (via a helpful PR) a book called Loom Band It! by Kate Roberts and Tessa Sillars-Powell. This colourful title promises to up my boys skills from simple bracelets to the dizzy heights of elastic band cupcakes, sandals and mobile phone cases.

It's arrival in our house certainly proved popular as it always does when one item arrives in a house with four children, but as usual the most obstreperous twin won out and spirited it off to school where they have recently invested in 3,000 bands plus looms for his reception class. I am expecting big things, not least that the cereal boxes covered in lolly sticks and tissue paper I am handed at school pick up be replaced by a new kitchen knitted entirely from elastic bands. Now for that I really would thank Mr Ng!


  1. Now I know what these are! The boys keep talking about them (although they don't have any, and I'm not sure they actually want them - they just know lots of people that are into them). The school also banned them.

  2. How have you managed to escape them for so long?