Here’s a fun spinning top toy that can be made with items from around the house! These tops are well-balanced and spin for a really long time. Kids will have fun coloring patterns on their tops and then playing with them.
The kids and I had fun testing out different materials and designs to come up with the best possible spinning top! Designing a top that spins well is a matter of science. The weight needs to be low to the ground, and the top must be balanced. Adding weight around the edge of the top increases its inertia (a resistance to a change in motion) and makes it spin longer.
The materials used for this homemade toy could not be simpler!
- Cardboard – corrugated cardboard from a box
- Marbles – one per top
- Bamboo skewers
- Hot glue
- Pennies or washers – four per top
- Plastic cup – for tracing a circle
Start by tracing a circle on the cardboard. We love to use plastic cups from restaurants for things like this!
Then use scissors to make a hole in the center of the circle. (Adult job)
Decorate your top with markers, colored pencils, or crayons. Bright colors and bold patterns work the best.
Use hot glue to attach the marble to the underside of the top. The hole in the cardboard gives the marble a place to sit, but it won’t really fit IN the hole.
Then glue four pennies around the edge of the top, on the underside. Why pennies, you ask? These give the top weight around the edge, which increases its inertia and makes it spin longer.
We tested tops with pennies and tops without. The added weight really does increase the spinning time!
You can use small metal washers instead of pennies if you prefer.
The final step in making your top is to glue a segment of a bamboo skewer to the top side, where the hole is. Use a LOT of hot glue, and hold the skewer upright until it dries.
You may be able to cut your skewer with scissors. If they are thick skewers, garden clippers may work better. That’s what we used! Just be careful, and this is an adult job.
We decided to color the skewer with a Sharpie, and it worked well! The Sharpie does not rub off on hands.
Then it’s time to test out your spinning top!
Make several with different designs on them, and compare how they look when they spin.
The skewer is easy to grip, and the tops are easy to spin.
Need more simple craft ideas?
There are so many things you can make with stuff from around the house!
Paper Roll Dog Craft – Make some cute dogs out of cardboard tubes!
Build a Tissue Box Catapult! This is fun to do and uses simple supplies.
Make a Paper Airplane Launcher – this adds power to your regular paper plane!