Make Friendship Bracelets for Your Child's Sake
By Martha Clouse

Many parents are looking for activities and crafts their children can enjoy. Ideally the craft would not be busy work that simply serves as a time filler, but one that will have your child stretching to meet a new challenge.

As a mom of four, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my children are unique, with definite strengths and tastes. I truly loved introducing my children to fabric art because the possibilities are so varied and can be individualized by the user. One of my favorite crafts in this area is making a friendship bracelet.

These are just a few of the benefits of spending time with your child making one or many of these colorful accessories:

1. Your child will be practicing both his small muscle dexterity and hand-eye coordination. These are the same skills needed in handwriting, typing, and driving a car.

2. Weaving the different strands involves counting and following a pattern. These are math skills that he/she will need in school. Even the SAT test has questions on "what comes next in this sequence?"

3. You will be helping your child explore color and realize the delight that comes from making something beautiful. You can name colors and talk about the color wheel when making choices for a bracelet. A parent may discover her child is color blind BEFORE trying to enter a field where color choices are key!

4. Completing a bracelet project on her own is a self-confidence builder. Don't you love it when you hear, "I can do this all by myself"?!

5. The supplies needed to make friendship bracelets are few. You can start small and simple, but the variety of patterns and colors gives a constant challenge. Your child can stretch his creativity by drafting new designs. This is also an easy "take-along" craft that can keep a child engrossed while traveling.

6. A friendship bracelet can easily be adapted to any child whether male or female. The promise of loyal friendship is such a neat concept to teach along with simply making a colorful bracelet. I remember my three brothers making up their own "tribal rules" following the Indian blood-brother ritual. Exchanging bracelets or rings is a covenant ritual used in the same way as co-mingling blood is a physical expression of promise... and definitely more hygienic!

7. Best of all, the end product is something that comes from the heart. Taking time to craft a friendship bracelet makes a caring and special gift for friends, teachers, or grandparents.

Be careful to keep your child from become frustrated by testing for readiness and using the easiest patterns to start. Then enjoy experimenting with your child; the possibilities are endless!

Martha is a former military wife and mother of four, a professional organizer, and now a grandmother! who loves sharing her expertise with busy moms. You can find more hints on how to get started with Easy Friendship Bracelet Patterns on her website

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