You may be wondering what is so special about the Rainbow Loom. Although it may seem like just the latest kids’ fad, it is actually a toy with amazing educational aspects. Read this interview with Shannon Samples, an Occupational Therapist from Texas, to learn what skills are developed through using the Rainbow Loom.
1. What is your job title and your experience?
I am a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. I hold an Associates degree and practice Occupational Therapy under the supervision of Master’s level Occupational Therapists. I have worked mainly as a pediatric therapist serving children from infants up to the age of 21 in their homes and also in school. I am currently a pediatric therapist working in home care for Children’s Medical Center of Dallas full time and also serve as an adjunct instructor for the Navarro College Occupational Therapy Assistant program.
2. What types of skills do you help kids improve when you work with them?
I see a wide variety of medical conditions in my job, from basic developmental delay to severe conditions. My job is to increase the ability of these children to engage in every day activities. Many times, these activities can be as basic as feeding themselves and other times it may be as complex as completing a homework assignment. Specific skills Occupational Therapy practitioners focus on include fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, sensory motor, behavior, attention span, one to one interaction and many more.
3. What skills are exercised in using the Rainbow Loom (for kids in general, not necessarily those needing therapy)?
Rainbow Loom addresses as many skills sets as I can think of. To begin with, fine motor skills are challenged including fine motor manipulation, pinch patterns and grip patterns. Visual motor skills are also challenged greatly as well as the integration of fine motor and visual motor skills. The ability to follow a pattern visually and to visually fixate on the items being placed on the loom is challenged. Attention span is greatly challenged as this task takes quite some time just to master the art of, as well as learning new patterns. Emotional regulation is challenged again as learning new patterns can be quite challenging, even frustrating at times. Gross motor skills are challenged for younger age groups just to complete the task, however, if a child is placed in various other positions to complete a bracelet then gross motor skills could be challenged at an increasing level (ex: child placed on stomach to increase upper body strength). Social skills are challenged when this activity is completed in a group setting or even when completed when more than one person is together. I truly cannot think of one area of skill that is not addressedwhen completing an activity with the Rainbow Loom! I personally used this product with my patients aged 3-13 and was able to adapt it for each of their use while addressing many of their therapy goals. They enjoyed it and each one asked when I would bring it again!!!!
4. At a regular price of $16.99 (for the basic kit with the loom, hook, and bands), would Rainbow Loom be a good item to buy for a child and why?
Yes, the current price of $16.99 makes Rainbow Loom a great item to buy for a child. In fact, several of my patient’s parents asked where to buy a kit! The price point of under $20 makes is reasonable and even a great gift item and provides many hours of fun!
5. Why do you think kids like using the Rainbow Loom?
In my experience, children like a challenge and Rainbow Loom offers a challenge. I was able to adapt this product to each child by completing portions of the activity for them as needed so that they were not overly challenged and overly frustrated, yet still challenged enough to increase their skills. The best part of an activity that is challenging is that is provides a reward and this product has a reward built in…the bracelet that they get to personalize and take home!
6. What ages do you think are ideal for using the Rainbow Loom?
The box says ages 8 and up. Unsupervised I would have to agree due to the small rubber bands, however, with supervision I believe this product can be utilized with children as young as 3 years old. As a matter of a fact, I personally used it with my patient’s from ages 3-13 and they all loved it and had success with it.
7. Anything else you would want moms or potential buyers to know about the Rainbow Loom?
This item takes a few minutes to master and may take a few minutes of adult supervision to get started, but once the kids get the hang of it, they will be off on their own!
Get your Rainbow Loom at Michaels! Learn more about Rainbow Loom here: michaels.com/Rainbow-Loom