I would probably call this toy a helicopter, but I've seen it referred to as a hand propeller, Chinese top, or bamboo dragonfly. At any rate, it has a less interesting name than some of the other folk toys.
HistoricalFolkToys.com writes, that the toy has an Asian origin. They also claim, a similar toy was given to the Wright brothers, by their father, when they were children, and helped to inspire their interest in flight.
My own children have played with inexpensive plastic versions, brought home from birthday parties, and children's fairs. We've always enjoyed playing with them. But, making a few ourselves proved educational, fun, and surprisingly easy.
Our supplies were pretty basic - an empty cracker box, bendy straws, scissors, a ruler, and a hole punch.
We started by cutting a strip of cardboard, from the side of the box, somewhere around two inches wide, and 9 inches long, more or less.
We folded it in half, bringing the short sides together, to find the middle.
Then, we started at one end, and cut away about a half inch from the top of the horizontal side, toward the middle. We did the same, but cut away from the bottom of the horizontal side, once we crossed the middle (see the picture below).
We punched a hole in the center (or pretty close to it) with a hole punch.
Pinching the bottom of the straw, we slid it through the hole, until it caught on the ridges of the bendy part. The straw was a tight fit in the hole, so we didn't need to add any tape to keep it from moving around.
But, we did trim the top of the straw, down to the ridges.
After giving it a test flight, we trimmed a little more off of each side of the propeller, and bent the ends up a little. Then, we made several more, so each child could fly their own.
Which they did, by holding the straw between the back of one palm, and the fingertips of the other hand.
Then, they pushed their second hand forward, spinning the propeller towards, and off, the fingertips of the first hand.
Our hand propellers acted with a boomerang-like action, flying up and forward, and then down, and back toward the launcher.
But, they fly differently, depending the length, and shape of the propellers, and how they are bent, leaving room for experimentation, and play.
It's great to be a homeschooler.