An Oldster Craft Turned to a Countrywide Fad

This article was published in Panay News last May, when I was still an intern in their company.

(Photo Credits to KidsStuffWorld)

     We are in the world now where the definition of the word “fun” revolves around the sphere of electronic gadgets. Facing the computer and television, non-stop tapping the screen of tablet and cellular phone and killing time with video games, all of these seem to be a daily routine for most kids nowadays. While giving “fun” is the primary feather of all these stuffs, it can cause self-seclusion to them by placing themselves passively in the corner and forget the fun in creating interaction with other people. Sports and other recreational activities seem to be buried now.

Recently, a new craze set in motion that broke the attention of both teenage girls and boys in United States and now it is invading Asian countries including Philippines. They are head over heels not with a hot boy band nor to excessively high-priced gadgets and toys but with loom bands.

The Loom Bands changed the clockwork basis of youngsters now by diverting their attention away from the virtual world. Loom bands are use by threading or weaving together various colors of non-glossy and finger-sized rubber bands to make a bracelet, accessories and different figures. What started out as an ancient apparatus used in knitting and weaving tapestry, loom is basically the principal tool used in making intricate patterns to have unique creations of these rubber bands.

Tracing the history of this loom band, it all began in the humble town of Wichita, Kansas, United States. Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant of Chinese descent with a graduate degree in mechanical engineering and now a crash-test engineer for Nissan, started it all. Three years ago, Ng saw his daughter named Teresa, 12 years-old sitting in their family den making bracelets out of rubber bands together with his other daughter Michelle, nine years old and his wife. At first, all he wanted is to impress his kids by joining them while making it but unfortunately the rubber bands were too small for his fingers. So the engineer thought of going to their garage and cobbled together a primitive loom by putting in row of pushpins in a piece of wooden board. By then, he began lopping the rubber bands in each pushpin and creates a pattern to make a bracelet. Ng wove the rubber bands as easy as pie in reckless speed, so his daughters were all amaze. Teresa then prompted the idea of putting it in the market because she saw the potential of loom bands to hook the interest of other kids.

Everything was a leap of faith for Ng and he even put at the edge of disaster state his daughter’s college funds in building this marketable product possible. Also, he’d taken a three-month sabbatical leave from Nissan, but he never went back.

After six months of refining the design, it was a total hit in the first store. Orders keep raining and as months pass by, it was a total tsunami effect.

Loom bands gives rise for kids to think of ideas in making unique designs. Looking on the psychological side, the way a kid acts while looming and the design and color that he decides to have will somehow reflect the individuality of the kid. It requires a lot of patience, creativity and resourcefulness; these are all characters that a person must develop well during childhood. After all, loom bands are an inexpensive hobby unlike many other electronic gadgets in the market.

Parents are very thankful with loom bands because it opened another means of interactive activity for their kids. Instead of concentrating how to win a video game and squandering by facing small and big screens, it yielded children ages 7-11 away from the mouse clicks and screen tapping life. /SL


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