Friday, June 10, 2011

Folk Toy Fridays - Balloon Spinners

Okay, a balloon spinner is not actually a folk toy, but it's in the general, spinning toy type, folk toy tradition. Besides which, when I first saw it in Arvind Gupta's Toys from Trash pages (where there are too many good ideas to even begin to mention - but thanks to Kate at Mini-eco, for introducing us to them, and to Crafty Crow, for introducing us to Kate's fine site), it reminded me of a spool tractor, which we have made before, and which is a folk toy.

It doesn't turn out to be like a spool tractor at all, but spins around in a wild, crazy, kid pleasing fashion, instead. And, it is so simple to make.

It's so simple, in fact, I was sure it wouldn't work, and decided to put one together, before the children got up this morning, just in case. To make your own, all you need is a balloon, a bendy straw, some string - or if you're like us, ribbon, and a pair of scissors.

Cut, the long end of the straw, so the straight bits are the same length on both sides of the bendy part, and bend it into a right angle.

Tie the balloon, tightly, onto one of the straight parts of the straw (this is not at all as tricky as it sounds).

Blow the balloon up, by blowing through the other end of the straw. If air leaks from around the string, just pinch the neck of the balloon, as you are blowing, and when the balloon is inflated, it will bulge against the string, and probably not leak too much air. Keep the balloon plugged, by placing your finger over the end of the straw.

Set the spinner on the floor, and let it go. Depending on the angle of the bend in the straw, the balloon will either spin very, very fast, or quite slowly.

I'm thinking this would make a great waiting-for-the-parents-to-arrive activity at the end of a birthday party, or maybe even at VBS, or for one of those Mom-I'm-boooored moments, this summer.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Unknown said...

how fun! i immediately left my office and was trying it out with kiddos in the library. they loved nice and quiet so we don't get those scowly looks!

Christy Killoran said...

This is going on my to do list. Looks like great fun!

Elise said...

We'll be trying this too. I think my children will really enjoy this. I am amazed at how simple this is to put together.

Ticia said...

How fun! Of course I"d be passing out from blowing up the balloon over and over and over again!