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A braid is a hairstyle that uses three or more strands of hair to form a diagonal, lengthwise pattern. While other hairstyles fall in and out of fashion, braids have remained at the forefront of hair fashion for a very, very long time, across every continent and culture. Some of the most beautiful and creative versions have been those that parents have created for their children’s hair. Whether it’s a classic braid-style for every day or a more elaborate style for special occasions, they all start with a basic braiding skill. From there, the possibilities are endless.

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French braid

Classic, elegant, and easy-to-learn, the French braid is one of the most popular braided hairstyles for children and adults. It’s different from classic three-strand braids in that it starts with three sections of hair at the crown. As you braid the hair in a downward direction toward the nape of the neck, you add more hair to each of the sections as you cross them from the side to the center of your braid. Learning how to accomplish the basic version of the French braid opens the door to a wide array of variations on the style. Try an elegant upside-down version starting from the bottom up, finishing with a cute bun on the top of the head.

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Dutch braid

Another classic braided style, think of the Dutch braid as an inside-out version of a French braid. And unlike the French braid, it stands out from the head instead of laying flat against it. To create Dutch braids, use the same technique as you’d use for French braids. Add a new section of hair to each section. But instead of crossing sections the outer sections of hair over the middle strand each time, you bring them underneath. Try incorporating side ponytails into a middle Dutch braid for a cute variation.

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Mohawk braids and faux mohawk braids

Kids love mohawks. They’re edgy and fun, plus, they’re a great avenue for children to start exploring their personal style. Mohawk and faux mohawk braids also create infinite and diverse possibilities. If you’re not quite ready for your child to sport the shaved sides of a full-on mohawk experience, you can achieve fun results with a braided version. Weave rows of smaller braids on the sides, then incorporate them into a larger top braid to achieve the style.

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“Frozen”-inspired side braids

Whether a child is a devoted Elsa fan, or they prefer the feisty, carefree Anna, they’ll love braided styles influenced by the blockbuster, Frozen. Elsa’s voluminous side braid is a popular go-to for fans of all ages. Recreate it with a French side braid. Loosen the braid to create more volume. Children with superlong hair will love wearing Anna’s easily-achieved pigtail-braids. For a cute updo, try Anna’s coronation hairstyle which includes a wraparound braid.

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Twisted braids

These versatile braid styles work great with any hair texture. Unlike a classic braid that uses three sections of hair, you’ll use only two sections of hair for a twisted braid. Each section is twisted on its own, then twisted around another section. Create amazing updos, cute long-braid styles, or add to bubble ponytails or dutch braids for a unique look. Create a French-style twist braid using the same technique. Start at the front and add twisted sections as you work toward the back of the head.

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Fishtail braid

It may be a bit more difficult, and even tedious at times, but the fishtail braid is worth the time. This elegant braid style creates a herringbone pattern that resembles a fish skeleton. There are several versions, including the popular French-style fish braid. Try a side fishtail for a more formal event. One of the great features of this braid is that you can also create it with shorter hairstyles.

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Waterfall braids

Timeless and elegant, waterfall braids are a modified version of the French braid, so this style might be easier if you first familiarize yourself with that technique. The name comes from the way the hair cascades towards the back of the head, like a waterfall, when the braid is complete. Once you figure out this technique, you’ll discover a long list of style variations as well. Try combining different variations to create one-of-a-kind designs that your child can call their own.

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Bang braids

If your goal is to find an innovative way to keep toddlers’ bangs out of their eyes, try a bang braid. Because many toddlers have fine hair, and clips won’t stay in, this is an excellent alternative. To make it easier, try it right after your little one has stepped out of the tub and has wet hair. This is basically a French braid, using the same techniques as you would with longer hair.

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Lemonade braids

When parents were youngsters, these cornrow-style braids were called side braids. But that was before the Queen B herself, Beyoncé, sported the hairstyle in a video clip for her 2016 hit album, Lemonade. Since then, the style has inspired dozens of variations and children have adopted this popular style in a big way. From classic lemonade braid ponytails to lemonade braid crowns and buns, this style works perfectly as a casual, everyday hairdo or a beautiful coiffure for dress-up occasions.

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Zipper braid

Another variation of the French braid, the zipper braid can be a tricky version for newbie braiders. It helps to have a second pair of hands to achieve this braid style and it’s easier to accomplish on an older child who can sit still for longer periods. The zipper braid is extremely versatile and works well with pig-tail, ponytail, and bun combos. This is an intricate braiding process, so give yourself some time if you plan to tackle this one. When you finish, you’ll be thrilled with the results.

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