Bedtime Bracelets

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Find more about arts and crafts, bedtime

Bath taken? PJs on? Teeth brushed? Check, check, and check. All three girls are ready for a chapter or two before bed, but for once, I'm itching to change things up. So instead of cracking Danny, the Champion of the World, I open our jewelry-making bin and we sprawl fireside on the living room floor to make bracelets.

Altering the routine is one thing; delaying bedtime is quite another. So we opt for basic bracelets made from our bead collection and a tangled-but-plentiful supply of colored elastic cord.

Soon everyone is chattering away while they hunt for beads. The goal may be to create a little bling, but as I hear about a "mean" substitute teacher, a new classroom bunny, and the songs that will be featured in an upcoming chorus concert, it's clear there is more to gain. Our news exchange is even more welcome on a night when togetherness has been elusive at the dinner table, where it's too easy for me to get bogged down in who's eating her broccoli and why it's polite to use a fork.

The bracelets-before-bed session was so successful, we now do it once a month. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Button bracelets -- I've been collecting buttons since I was 20, so it was high time we found a use for them. Natalie likes to string a bunch on elastic cord (then restring, and restring them) and eventually tie it off. My kids aren't skilled with needles, but if yours are, have them gather up a bunch of favorites to sew higgledy piggledy on a band of elastic that fits around the wrist.

  • Go-fish bracelets -- A no-tie bracelet created by linking a bunch of fishing swivels and adorning them with seed beads and whatever else strikes your fancy. Natalie quickly got frustrated trying to bend and operate the swivels, but my 10-year-olds cranked out several bracelets quickly. Be sure to get all-brass swivels -- some other types contain lead or bear toxicity warning labels. I found ours on www.cabelas.com.

  • Snack bracelets -- Using elastic sewing thread and a needle, stitch up a ring of gum drops (skewer the center of each candy piece) as a treat for tomorrow's lunch box. Natalie, 5, finds this a challenge, but still gets in on the act by stringing Cheerios and Apple Cinammon O's.

  • Ribbon bracelets -- Simple and quick.

  • Macramé bracelets -- If you're new to these knots, approach this with extra time and patience. We found it easier to make at least two to four knots between beads. Caitlin liked these so much that she's planning a series of long strands to hang in her doorway.

    Do your kids like making their own jewelry? What are their favorites? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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