1. Make this: Rubber-band eraser
Why: It’s way cooler than a plain old eraser.
Best for: Artists who demonstrate patience and resourcefulness, and possess spatial-reasoning skills
You’ll need: One small bag of multicolored rubber bands per child; a small marble (or a small bouncy ball equivalent in size to a marble) is optional.
What to Do:
Step 1: Use the marble or ball as the center of the rubber-band ball—or create a central core from rubber bands only. (For the latter, fold a short, thick rubber band repeatedly in half so it is tightly packed, and then wrap a very small, thin rubber band around it to keep it together as a solid unit.)
Step 2: Wrap rubber bands tightly around the center core until the eraser is the desired size.
Tip: Add rubber bands in size order, using smaller ones first and then larger ones as the ball grows in size. Space bands out as evenly as possible so that the ball doesn’t become lumpy or uneven in size.
What to do next: Show it off … and wipe away mistakes!
2. Make this: Wall art
Why: To personalize your kids’ decor
Best for: Creative thinkers with an eye for detail and a knack for visual planning
You’ll need: A pegboard, small and large multicolored rubber bands
What to do:
Step 1: Help your child stretch rubber bands over the pegs of a pegboard, forming designs in various shapes and colors.
Step 2: Encourage your child to arrange and rearrange the rubber bands until he finds a configuration he likes.
Tip: Invite him to s-t-r-e-t-c-h his imagination and try his hand at animal, vehicle, and sports-equipment shapes.
What to do next: Display the finished product for all to see!
3. Make this: Rubber-band bracelets
Why: Because every fashionista needs some
Best for: Kids with fine motor skills, and pattern-making and decision-making sense
You’ll need: Multicolored mini rubber bands, small colorful plastic paper clips, and a creative eye!
What to do:
Step 1: Feed the rubber band through one loop of the paper clip and then fold it in half. Next, hold the two loops of the rubber band open and thread a second rubber band through it.
Step 2: Have your child select the next rubber band and help her thread that one through the loops of the second.
Step 3: Let her continue adding rubber bands to form the pattern of colors she likes best. When she settles on a length, attach the final rubber band to the opposite end of the clip.
What to do next: Encourage her to try a belt or make more bracelets for her own use—and others for friends!
4. Make this: Funky napkin holders
Why: To jazz up a ho-hum table
Best for: Kids whosecreativity, resourcefulness, fine motor skills, and visual-spatial skills are in place
You’ll need: A bag of rubber bands of various thicknesses, kid-safe paint (the more colors, the better!), scissors, paper-towel tubes, waxed paper or old newspapers
What to do:
Step 1: Lay waxed paper or old newspapers on your crafting surface.
Step 2: Encourage your child to wrap rubberbands around the paper-towel tube in various directions, forming a variety of patterns and leaving plenty of uncovered space. Tip: Rubber bands close in size to the cardboard tube’s circumference will yield the best fit.
Step 3: Help your mini Picasso paint over the roll and the rubber bands, alternating colors and patterns. Sprinkle with glitter and let dry.
What to do next: Remove bands to expose the designs your child created. Cut the cardboard tube in two-inch increments and fill each with a napkin.
Important: Safety goggles are a must when working with rubber bands