Mobiles are an easy kid’s craft and a great way to learn about balance and the center of gravity. Make a simple mobile from some household items and see if you can balance it. Bonus: These look so pretty turning in a gentle breeze!
NOTE: This project was originally developed for Camp PBS Parents. The original project is no longer available on their website. I’ve updated this post with the instructions.
Also note that over the years we have altered the project to make it even easier to make so the instructions below represent the latest version of the project and do not necessarily correspond with the original post images or video.
- Paper Straws
- Hole Punch
- Beads with large center holes
- Paper/Cardstock Print shape template on your paper
- Cardboard cut into small shapes
- Step One Flatten the center of each straw and punch hole in it.
- Step Two Cut a slit on the end of each straw.
- Step Three Cut a 2 to 3 foot length of string and put clear tape on one end to make a makeshift needle. Tie a knot the other end of the string.
- Step Four Thread a few beads or cardboard shapes onto the string. Add a straw. Repeat. When your mobile is complete, tie a knot at the top.
- Step Five Cut out paper shapes using the template. Add a shape to each end of each straw to balance.
The Science Behind This Toy
Our Straw Mobile demonstrates the concept of the center of gravity. The center of gravity or mass is the point at which an object is perfectly in balance. While you add the paper shapes, take notice of what happens when you add only one shape to a straw. The straw will tip and be off balance, even when using something very light like paper. Experiment with adding different shapes to each end of a straw and see what happens. You will need to have shapes of the same size on each end of the straw to keep it properly balanced.
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