A couple months back I saw a pin on Pinterest with an outdoor loom. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Okay, maybe not ever, but I reeeeally liked it and my mind began to tick off all the awesome ways it would be amazing for our homeschool. If you’re not familiar with what this is, don’t feel left out. I wasn’t either. An outdoor loom is used the same as, well, an indoor loom. Only, instead of just yarn or other cloth materials, you use things found outside. Sticks, long grass, pretty flowers, and whatever else you can find. We also use scrap yarn and fabric (we’ve totally caught the birds stealing some) from my stash. You end up with a pretty piece of outdoor art that has SO many benefits for little hands.
So a few weeks ago I decided while scanning Pinterest on a Saturday morning it was time for us to build one. Once upon a time, there was a swing in our backyard. It’s long gone now but the wooden frame is still there. Score one for this mama on a mission. It’s also in an “A” shape. Score two. My mind instantly saw a play hut! I wrapped the wire around all sides for a couple of passes. I used wire because we have no plans of cutting down our final product, and we want it to be sturdy, but for something less permanent or easy to cut, yarn would work fine. Once I got to about the kid’s height I stopped wrapping around one of the short sides and then continued almost all the way down the other sides. I left a gap at the bottom so we can easily mow and weed-eat around the whole thing to prevent snakes (eek!) from hiding in the kids hide-a-way. Check out our Instagram for more photos!
- Fine Motor Skills: With a house full of small children I’m constantly searching for ways to work their fine motor muscles, and weaving is a wonderful way to do so. They have to work whatever medium they’re using in and out of the wire, and that requires skill. Reaching in, pinching the grass between their fingers, and the simple act of weaving the items in and out of the wire all do just that.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Did you think only sports did this? Nope. Weaving is great for hand-eye coordination, too! You can’t always ensure whatever you’re weaving is going to go over and under exactly where you intend. That’s where hand-eye coordination comes in. See? (Pun totally intended) While a good game of catch works so does weaving.
- Patience: A loom doesn’t fill overnight. It takes time. Lots of time. When we first put it up Hayden said, “I’m going to fill up the sides right now so we can have walls!” After weaving for a good hour he realized it was going to take much longer than he first thought. Not only does it take time to fill the loom, it takes time to weave. If you’re too forceful the twig could snap, or the grass could tear. Gentle patience. It’s a slow process.
- Relaxing: Weaving will relax you. No lie. The kids get quiet from their need to focus, and it becomes a silent activity. The repetition is calming, and once you get into a “groove” your mind can wander. Pair that with the sweet sounds of nature and it’s bliss. I enjoy the loom, for this reason, the most.
- History Lessons: Weaving is dated back to more than 25,000 years ago. (SAY WHAT?!) Since then we know it’s been used all over the world. It’s a wonderful skill to have that was once basic knowledge, and in some countries still is. There’s always a new lesson to learn every time we weave! The Industrial Revolution put weaving “out of style” like so many other things, but who’s to say we may not need the skill one day in the future?
If none of these reasons make you want to build a loom in your yard, there’s always the fact that they’re pretty!