Self-Directed Education and the Rainbow Loom

My seven year old daughter saved money, purchased her own loom supplies, researched designs for bracelets and figures made with rubber bands and used her loom to create the designs.

Early in the fall we decided to follow a more interest based education philosophy. Although we no longer exclusively use the interest based education approach there are many benefits to the method. Among other skills, allowing children to follow their interests goes a long way towards developing executive function skills. Executive function skills are those such as time management, task initiation, self-regulation and priority management used by managers on a daily basis.

This project shows how this approach to education not only enhances traditional subject based skills, but executive function, all while allowing the child to lead the way, keeping motivation at a top level.

My daughter received a rainbow weaving kit for her birthday. Using the loom provided, small, colorful rubber bands are woven together to create bracelets and small figures suitable for keychains, Christmas ornaments, and necklaces. She explored the loom a little after receiving it, but her interest level rose sharply after visiting a friend which also had a loom.

Once she returned from her friend's house, she quickly used up her remaining supplies. Purchasing supplies is a lesson in executive function as well as money math. My seven year old has many money related lessons yet to learn. She rarely does housework, but she did manage to save enough to purchase more supplies for her loom. This lesson in executive function also hit home in the money management department.

With her new supplies ready to go, she quickly learned how to find tutorials on the internet. She watched and wove two new bracelets and then a fish and a flower. With each new item she created she selected colors to create repetitive patterns, counted out the appropriate number of bands and followed the directions to complete the project.

 This was quite an age appropriate, self-directed learning-experience. Stay tuned for more as we continue our journey into interest-based education.

Check out these great blogs full of educational activity ideas.

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