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Silly Bandz: Fun or foolish?

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Parents react to ban

Have your kids gotten in on the Silly Bandz craze? The $5 packs of rubber bands in the shapes of animals, letters and other fun items are worn on wrists like bracelets -- but educators say this fad has become a distraction, and they've been banned in many schools. What's the deal?

What parents should know

Sill bandz

Like any fad, the interest in Silly Bandz is sure to come and go. But for now, kids are excited and interested in these bands. The cool shapes and bright colors are intriguing. They look funky on the wrist, but when you pull them off, they are clearly special shapes.

"I would encourage my child to not get too caught up in it. Keep it all in perspective, and don't spend too much money on it. Make sure trading activities stay within the school guidelines so the fad doesn't become a distraction. And remember that no Silly Bandz are worth fighting with friends about," says Tiemann.

Educational value?

It's important to note, as well, that the Bandz aren't all silly. In fact, the trading aspect can teach valuable skills. "I was interested to see how much time my daughter spent organizing her bands, and planning and strategizing about the best trades. I thought it was a pretty cool, concrete exercise in economics and social interaction. Kids can spend their own money on them, make their choices and trades, and see how they feel about their deals later. Sometimes they'll be happy, sometimes maybe they'll have buyer's regret, but it's a chance for them to play and explore with real-life interactions," says Tiemann.

Mom Robin Nolan of North Carolina agrees. "[They are a] great tool for teaching kids about generosity, trade, marketing and branding on an elementary level. Teachers should have embraced them [and] used them for math problems and learning," says Nolan. She did note, however, that her children's school banned them after unfair trading and broken trade promises occurred.

Tell us: What do you think? Are Silly Bandz just silly fun? Or should they be banned?

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