Banding together
Banding together
Scott Dunlop

A month ago I’d not even heard of this latest craze to hit schools across the world. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the minds of children and how much influence they have on each other. Our once-tidy house is littered with tiny, fluorescent-coloured elastic bands, the detritus of a looming addiction.

I don’t mean an impending addiction- it’s already here. Children are creating all sorts of decorations with their looms. Schools have had to institute strict rules to ensure that the craze is managed. There have been almost-hysterical warnings in the international press about the dangers of looming, in particular, one mother said that her son’s bangle was too tight and his fingers started to go blue. I’ve even seen articles about adults who have created dresses and other clothing made entirely from loomies.

School crazes aren’t that surprising- I am a veteran at them. I lived through the Tazo madness of 2000. (Remember? Those somewhat-pointless metal disks that came in chip packets. From Pokémon cards to yo yos and little figurines with virtually no purpose- all with the manufacturers’ strict command to “COLLECT THEM ALL!”

There’s always one kid in the class whose pocket money has allowed him to own every single item in the range, including LIMITED EDITION SILVER-PLATED MILLENIUM sets. I try and work out just how much that kid (or his parents) has spent on the collection, but start to feel queasy when it runs into the thousands. 

Some children become entrepreneurs: spotting the opportunity, they’ll invest in large quantities of stock to trade on the playground or sell at the school’s market days. Gone are the days of flogging bran muffins.

My daughter has found a happy medium. She has a small starter kit which she has topped up with a few bags of bands she found in the cheap knock-off store. She and her friends are planning to work together to make their investment grow for the school’s Entrepreneur Day, and that’s fine.

I know some friends who are looming with their kids- the family that looms together, rooms together…

It’s great fun for kids to participate in crazes but I know for a fact that in a few years’ time they’ll be hunting through boxes for junk in their rooms during a spring cleaning session and they’ll come across their collection of loomies.

They’ll chuckle at the memories of the giddy obsession, and shake their heads in horror when I suggest chucking them out or giving them away.

So the little bands are here to stay. Like glitter you find stuck to your forehead after a work meeting where everyone suspects that you went to some decadent party but meanwhile you were only helping your child with a project, they’ll never disappear completely, but will turn up in the weirdest places for decades to come. 

Save yourself the friction and get looming with your kids!

What was your favourite childhood craze? Remind us of that collective madness at and you could win a R250 voucher.

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