Here’s a fun LEGO® challenge – use your bricks to build spinning tops! This is one of our favorite challenges because there are so many ways to build a spinning top, and they spin REALLY WELL. You don’t have to have a lot of special pieces – I can almost guarantee that everyone will have the parts for this!
Spin them on the table, or build a battle arena!
Kids can spin the tops directly on the table or floor, or they can build a “battle arena” for them, sort of like Beyblades. They spin longer on the table because they don’t bump into anything, but the downside is that they often find their way to the edge of the table and fall off, which results in pieces coming off.
Really, it’s fun to do both! Spin them on the table, and then try battling more than one of them in your arena. We built a frame for our LEGO® spinning tops out of basic bricks. Since our table has little grooves in it, I cut a piece of poster board to fit under the frame. I used some Scotch tape to attach the bricks to the poster board – but not a lot, because I don’t want the bricks to get sticky.
At the bottom of this post, there are tips for maximizing the STEM learning that will take place with this project! I love using LEGO® bricks for STEM challenges – such as these wind-powered LEGO contraptions and these LEGO® pulleys.
See a video demonstration of the spinning tops below:
How to Build LEGO Spinning Tops
There are a couple ways to go about building a top. Here’s the first method.
Find the largest round plates that you have. (Plates are the flat bricks.) This one is 6 studs by 6 studs.
You’ll need to use an axle for the top to spin on, but the larger round plates have a round hole in the center. If you attach a 2 x 2 round plate underneath, the x-shaped hole on the 2 x 2 plate will help hold onto the axle.
Add a round brick and a dome brick to create a handle. The axle will run through these bricks as well.
Then you’re ready to give it a spin!
Here’s another top with an axle in the center.
Another way to build a LEGO spinning top is to use a 1/2 length Technic pin instead of an axle. One of the boys built this cool looking top. Find a blue pin like the one in the photo below.
Then insert the pin in the hole of the round plate.
There are so many ways to design LEGO tops! It’s fun to keep tinkering and experimenting!
The spinning top on the bottom left in the photo below has a bar instead of an axle in the center, and at the very bottom is an upside-down 1 x 1 cone. It spins well!
Add some STEM learning to this project!
There are some great physics principles to discuss when you do this project.
- Does the top spin better with a long axle or a short axle? In other words, where should the center of gravity be? We found that the tops spin the best when the axle is short and the center of gravity is low, but if the axle is TOO short, then the top will scrape the ground as it wobbles, which makes it slow down.
- What is the best method of releasing the top? Spinning it between two fingers? Or using the palms of both hands? Or another way?
- Do the colors of the bricks on your top appear to change when it’s spinning? We had good success getting orange by building a top with yellow and red bricks. But for some reason, yellow and blue did not appear to make green.
Find this LEGO® building idea plus 49 more in my book – Awesome LEGO Creations with Bricks You Already Have
This book is perfect for kids who love to tinker! Give them tons of inspiration – 50 projects to build with their big tub of random bricks.