Okay, flying saucers aren't really folk toys. But, spinning tops are folk toys, or at least incredibly old toys. And, the simple tops we found in Mary Blocksma's Action Contraptions: Easy-to-Make Toys That Really Move, remind us of a flying saucers, as they spin across the floor.
To make one of your own, you need:
- A round, plastic lid. We used one off of a coffee can.
- A ping-pong ball. Any smooth ball might work. We made one with one of those play-place type balls, and it worked even better, especially for small hands to grab, and spin, than the ping-pong ball.
- A quarter, or something round, with a slightly smaller diameter than the ball you want to use, to trace around.
- A pen, that will write on plastic.
- And tape, though this one is optional. It is meant to keep the ball in place, but we found they fit tightly enough, that it wasn't necessary.
Trace around your quarter, or other round object, in the center of the lid.
Cut the circle out. You might need to enlarge the hole some if the ball won't fit into it at least 1/3 of the way through. We found a milk cap was closer to the size needed for a ping-pong ball, than a quarter.
Push the ball somewhere around 1/3 of the way (or not quite half-way) through the hole. Tape it in place, on the bottom side, if desired.
Spin the ball between your thumb and first finger to start the top. The children liked the larger ball better, because they could spin, and drop it from above the table. The ping-pong ball top had to be spun right on the table.
According to the book, you can make a larger version, using a paper plate, and add a ring of clay around the outside edge to make it spin even longer. I thought we'd try that too, but we were having so much fun with the simple version, it didn't seem necessary.
It's great to be a homeschooler.