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Loom Bands: Lovable Or Loony?

12/08/2014 15:01 | Updated 20 May 2015

Loom bands

A few weeks ago my five-year-old son came home from school sporting a multi-coloured bracelet on his wrist.

"What's that," I said, wondering if it was some bizarre new tagging system introduced by his teachers to denote who had been naughty that day.

"It's a loom band!" he announced. "My friend gave it to me."

"Er, a 'loon' band, did you say?" I asked, bemused.

"Duh, no, looooom band, dad!" he replies, shaking his head, incredulous that I had not heard of the playground craze sweeping Britain, one that has already made Rainbow Loom inventor, Cheong Choon Ng a tidy £80million.

The likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have since been seen wearing them and some retailers have already begun predicting that loom bands will be the best selling toys this Christmas.

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Linking the tiny elastic bands into chains is seriously addictive.

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And when my son got a box of 2000 of the things as a birthday present from another friend he was instantly hooked.

At first I was delighted that he had found an activity that could potentially 'tie up' hours of the day.

I was all for a pastime that would stop him trashing the house or stop him ending up slumped in front of the TV.

The only problem is that both I and his mum were roped in to help him work out how to do it.

What looked apparently quite simple once on a child's wrist, suddenly looked fiendishly difficult as we eyed the assorted equipment.

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I was suddenly transported back 30 years to the horrors of having to do sewing at primary school, the first time I realised I had the fine motor skills of a bear wearing boxing gloves.

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I was the sort of kid who never mastered the yo-yo, always lost in conkers and was left bemused by exactly what you did with marbles.

Opening our box of loom bands (which may well not be the official version), the instructions left us scratching our heads and we had to resort to watching YouTube videos to discover exactly how to loop the things properly.

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Eventually, producing only what looked like a piece of petrified pasta, I left the role of helper to his mum.

They had soon got their heads round the task and had a production line going that would make a textile factory proud.

As if by magic my own wrist started sporting a neon design my son had lovingly created for me.

When I arrived at nursery to deliver my other son for the day, displaying my new bracelet, I felt pretty good. Finally I was 'down with the kids'.

But the number of discarded, half-made or broken loom bands slowly began accumulating around the house and as the summer has gone one I have come to the gradual realisation that these things are taking over the world.

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What had seemed a harmless hobby soon began to seem like a plastic plague.

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Rogue bands have a habit of pinging off into the corner of the room and it wasn't long before they were turning up in the washing machine, clogging the vacuum cleaner and even in my coffee.

Some loom band sets come with as many as 10,000 of the things in a vast array of colours and legions of them have already been put to use in making everything from dresses to bikinis.

Now I live in fear that my wife and I will end up having to sport home-made loom band hats or scarves, just in order not to offend our little ones.

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I'm half expecting to wake up one morning unable to move because I'm encased in a loom band onesie that my son has cleverly woven round me whilst I'm asleep.

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With the profusion of intricate designs around I confidently predict that before long there will be university degree courses in loom banding making or their impact on wider society.

And it can only be a matter of time until there are whole loom band theme parks where you can ride down loom band rollercoasters and retire to a loom band café where all the plates and cups are made of loomware.

The thing is that I fear loom bands might not only take over the world - they may well destroy it too.

I've already bored my family and friends with grumpy old man style rants about how the unrecyclable little blighters are an eco-time bomb which threatens both wildlife and human health.

Though, strangely, I still haven't had the heart to take off that first loom band made lovingly for me by my son.

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