Simple Spinning Top

The first home-made “toy” I remember being shown as a child was a spinning top made from a matchstick jammed into a lychee seed. I didn’t include it in my book because I didn’t want to include anything made from inaccessible materials, but I recently came up with the design in the video below which is so simple you can make it in a matter of seconds. I don’t know if I’m the first person to do this – other people have certainly made spinning tops from bottle lids, but the beauty of this method is that you don’t need glue or anything else to hold the matchstick in place – the milk bottle lid is made of a plastic which conveniently seals itself around the matchstick, holding it in place, something I learned when using them as wheels for balloon / rubber-band powered cars.

EXTRAS: You can decorate your spinning top however you want, but below are some templates you can download, colour in, cut out, and stick onto your tops to produce some wonderful visual effects. I found the templates at “Heidi Songs” and have re-sized them so that they fit standard plastic milk bottles tops (in England).

It would be easy enough to modify this to experiment with different sizes of disk, by sticking the milk bottle lid onto different sized cardboard circles, for example. You could also investigate whether the position of the lid on the matchstick makes a difference by moving the lid up and down the stick.

I’m always impressed by people who take things to the “next level” and these guys have done just that with spinning tops:

MORE GOOD STUFF: Click here for more activities. I’ll be publishing more videos of activities toys you can make at home over the coming weeks. Check back here, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss them.

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