9 DIY Friendship Bracelets for Kids
Take the traditional bestie bracelets for a twist with these creative crafts!
You remember those knotted DIY friendship bracelets that you and your BFF made together at summer camp -- but you can't quite remember the intricate braids that went into them. Now that your child has her own social circle, she's begging to braid one up for her bestie. Refresh your memory and help her create her own with DIY friendships bracelets.
Keep in mind, friendship bracelets aren't just cute crafts -- they symbolize a bond between two people. While your child is crafting, talk to him about why he's making a "friendship" bracelet and question him about what a friend is.
"Asking questions of children is an excellent way to help them strengthen their mental muscle," says Wendy Young, a child and adolescent therapist, creator of the Spin-Doctor Parenting Blog and co-author of "Bloom: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids." "When we ask open-ended questions, we help them explore their opinions, thoughts and feelings."
Before you break out the embroidery floss, check out these beyond-the-braid options:
- No-Sew Solution
Your child's first true friendships are likely to develop around age 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That said, her fine motor skills don't exactly make her ready for a major weaving project. The solution? A no-sew DIY friendship bracelet craft. Cut strips of scrap fabric into long, thin rectangles. Punch holes into the fabric, making each one about an inch away from the next. Your child and her bestie can "sew" yarn through the holes, and you can tie the ends with a bow.
- Washi Tape
Barbara Rucci, a graphic designer and creator of the blog Art Bar, suggests using duct tape and washi tape to make colorful bracelets. Rucci and her kids found this project completely "cool." Not only are the kids making their own bracelets, but they are using the tape to make unique designs and patterns. She notes, "It's great for all ages -- my teen loved it as much as my 4-year-old art students."
- Picture Charms
Your child and her BFF can trade school pics to use when crafting matching jewelry. According to the AAP, drawing shapes is a milestone that children should meet by age 5. Stress this skill by having your child draw a circle around the face in the picture. Cut the photo shape out. Glue each picture onto another circle made of craft felt. Punch two holes (with a hole punch) into opposite sides of the felt. Thread a thin ribbon through and tie it at the ends.
- Straw Style
Young suggests using colorful straws and a friend-to-friend questioning game to create the unique friendship bracelets on her blog. When a group of children asks each other get-to-know-you-deeper questions, Young says, "they become more engaged while simultaneously building rapport with others and participating in the give-and-take that builds social and critical thinking skills."
- Natural Materials
If your child absolutely, positively has to make a braided bracelet ("All the other kids are!"), swap out the traditional yarn and try a few natural materials instead. Braid bunches of long stems, wheat stalks or strips cut from large leaves.
- Jelly Bean Bracelets
Who says that friendship bracelets have to be made from thread or other traditional craft materials? Artsy Creation's jelly bean bracelets give your child the chance to make a yummy treat to share with his friends!
- Cereal and Candy String
Don't like jellybeans? That's okay. The candy bracelet from Lil' Luna is a simple stringing craft that's just as sweet.
- Beaded Weave
Instead of stringing beads on thread, yarn or fishing line, your child can create a sturdier bracelet for his best bud by using pipe cleaners. Push the beads through pipe cleaners, and then twist or weave them together.
- Craft Stick Bracelets
Turn craft sticks into bold bracelets with this great idea from MollyMooCrafts. Soak the sticks in hot water until they are pliable. After the wood has softened, bend the wood to fit inside a jar, so it dries in a ring shape. When it's completely dry, your child can paint the outside with temperas and seal the color in with a slick coat of clear-drying school glue, or decorate them with washi tape or thread.
Creating and crafting with a best friend is an artsy experience that builds your child's social skills in imaginative new ways.
Want more ideas? Try these fun friendship bracelet ideas.
Erica Loop is a mom, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. When she's not busy teaching, she's creating kids' activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.