Rainbow weaving for kids is a hit! This rainbow paper weaving was fun for my toddler, my preschooler, and my kindergartener. They each had a slightly different cardboard loom to fit their needs. Not only did each boy enjoy this activity, but it was the quietest my house had been all day. – And on a rainy day stuck inside, I am here for that 100%.
But I won’t keep this activity all to myself! I will share what you need and how to start weaving away. I can’t wait for you to try this rainbow activity!
RELATED: Need more simple ideas for kids at home? Check out this list of 50+ play ideas.
Materials You Need
- Cardboard – this is going to be the ‘base’ of the loom. I grab whatever’s lying around the house or use an old cereal box!
- Colored paper or ribbons – your kids need something to weave! I love different colored paper or ribbons because they’re easy to use and look great.
- Painter’s tape – you’ll want something to stick your loom down; otherwise, it will slide all around the table!
- String or twine – you’ll be looping the string or twine around the cardboard so your kids can weave away.
How Do You Make a Weaving Loom for Kids?
Step 1: Find a piece of cardboard or use the back of a cereal box.
If I can’t find any cardboard, I like to use an old cereal box; any will do! I just cut out the back, and voila! – You have a weaving loom. It also takes away my mom’s guilt for not reusing all those boxes of Cheerios my boys go through!
Step 2: Cut one-inch lines on either end of the cardboard.
You need lines or slits in the cardboard to wrap the string around. If they’re not deep enough, the string keeps pinging off, and the kids can’t weave properly. That leads to unhappy toddlers and an unhappy me!
Step 3: Wrap yarn, twine, or string from one end to the other and tie it in the back.
I like this part; I think it’s pretty soothing! Wind the string (or whatever you have) around the slots, then tie it at the back to make it secure. It looks like the strings on a guitar when you’re done. I never did learn to play that guitar *sigh*.
Step 4: Keep the string tight but not too close so that it bends the cardboard.
You want to make sure the string isn’t super loose, or your little ones won’t be able to weave the card through properly. But, at the same time, don’t do it so tightly that it bends up the cardboard. This one took a bit of practice for me, so you can always reloop if it’s too loose or too tight the first time.
Step 5: Tape the cardboard loom to the table to hold it steady.
Have you ever been two and tried to hold a piece of cardboard while threading paper through strings? Yeah, it’s hard. My top tip is to tape your cardboard loom down. It frees up those chubby hands to concentrate on the important part – weaving!
Step 6: Cut strips of paper or use ribbon for children to begin exploring how to weave.
Snip up some colored paper or use ribbons for that rainbow effect – this activity is all about the rainbow! Plus, different colors gives the kids a chance to develop their language and explore making patterns – a win-win!
Weaving Has so Many Benefits for Preschoolers!
- Concentration and focus – think of the attention your little ones need to weave that string in and out! It takes a lot of effort (and maybe even a tongue poking out) to figure out how to weave the string.
- Creativity – when your child sees the colors, they’ll think, ‘Which one should I choose? I like this one!’ It’s so great to see them experiment and play with colors.
- Fine motor practice – gripping that paper is hard for small hands. And figuring out how to move it up and down, in and out? When it comes to fine motor practice, this one’s a winner!
- Hand-eye coordination – learning to get the paper under and then over the string requires excellent hand-eye coordination. If they don’t coordinate, then weaving won’t work!
- Holding a steady hand (great for STEAM activities!) – when I watch my boys, I see how hard they try to keep their hands steady to weave the paper. It’s such great practice for writing later on in life.
- Left-to-right progression – another incredible skill for prewriting! Weaving in one direction gets the little one’s hands used to moving across the ‘page.’
- Patterning – It’s so fun to see the boy’s faces light up and point to the patterns they’ve made with the colors and string.
- Practices pincer grip to help strengthen pencil grip – holding those bits of paper and moving them takes skill, and boy, does this activity help with that pincer grip!
Rainbow weaving is an example of how children have opportunities to be makers in their homes. It is an excellent way to reinforce what to do when bored. This article from the naeyc explains more about the importance of making and tinkering at home.
RELATED: Having simple activities you can find instantly is so helpful. That is why we made our activity cards!
Why I Chose This Weaving Activity
My first goal was to expose my boys to what weaving is and what weaving looks like upon completion. I know that art is essential for children, so this was another way for us to be creative in the home. From an introduction to painting with my toddler to Bubble Wrap Art with all three, art has found its place.
This activity was a fun way to hold the cardboard loom in their hands. I wanted to explore how to pull the paper up and over the string.
Since I didn’t expect them to become master weavers on day one, I wanted to invite them into the rainbow weaving activity and allow the boys to take the lead. You can even find this activity, plus 19 others, on our new BIG KID activity cards!
How to Adapt the Activity for Different Ages
I made each cardboard loom to match my child’s needs – different ages have different skills to learn! For our almost-three-year-old, he has three wide lines for him to weave in and out of. You will see below that he went under with each strip of paper. Remember, we are exposing our children to weaving, not expecting mastery. He was proud of his work!
Our almost five-year-old had more lines to weave through. I taped each strip of paper to the back of his loom to get him started. He also felt confident in his final weaving project. We love how each weaving pattern came out, and my 4.5-year-old raced the final product right up to his room! It is now hanging above his bed.
My oldest, six years old, had a blank cardboard loom and could weave in and out on his own. I did the first strip of paper for him to use as an example. This was something my kindergartener was ready for.
The more my kids practice weaving, the better weavers they will become! The next time my boys want to weave, we will use ribbon! I will continue guiding them along so they can recognize the over and under pattern.
RELATED: Want to paint with kids, but not sure how to begin? This step-by-step guide on how to paint with kids will help you get set up and leave you confident!
Weaving With Kids is Such a Great Idea!
This weaving activity is such a simple way to create a keepsake and piece of art. When will you give it a try?
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
Want more rainy day activities? Check out these ideas below!
- Garage Ball Toss; a Rainy Day Activity for Kids
- One Rainbow Color Activity, Five Ways to Play
- Rainbow Color Sorting
- Wooden Train Tracks Puzzle
Frequently Asked Questions
Weave strips of construction paper over and under the string. Toddlers can practice hand-eye coordination with less string. Preschoolers can begin to alternate over and under as they place the paper under the sting and then over. Repeat the over and under pattern until you reach the other side.
Model how to place the strips of paper over and under the string. Then, stand back and allow the child to learn how this is done. Say aloud, ‘over, under, over, under,’ to help the brain and hand movement connect.
My two-year-old, four-year-old, and five-year-old all weaved the paper strips. Use larger strips for younger children and more thin strips for older kids.
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