Here are 5 different ways to make a spinning top out of easy to find materials. Tops are one of our very favorite DIY toys to make and illustrate several physics concepts in the form of a toy! Bonus: They are always a hit with kids in our STEAM classes and camps!
Our Featured Tops
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5 Ways to Make a Spinning Top
The 5 types of tops below utilize a handful of easy to find materials. Try assembling these materials and making different styles of tops and see which one spins the longest!
Spinning Top Materials:
- Bamboo Skewers
- Wood Beads
- Marker cap
- Perler Beads
- Plastic lids
1. Spin-finite Tops
These compact tops can be assembled in a couple minutes and spin FOREVER!
Materials needed: Metal washers, wood beads and colorful tape!
2. Paper Tops
These paper tops are fun to decorate with contrasting details. As they rotate the designs will blend together.
Materials needed: Card stock, a skewer and a bead
PRINT THE TEMPLATE HERE
3. Art Spinners
Art Spinners are featured in my book STEAM Play & Learn! They are easy to make and also fun to use for action art!
Materials needed: CD, a marker cap and a marble
4. Perler Bead Tops
Learn about physics and color mixing in one sweet little top!
Materials needed: Perler Beads, skewers
5. Yogurt Spin Art Tops
Make homemade paint and use it to create spin art with these tops made from recycled materials.
Materials needed: Yogurt container lid, skewers, yogurt, food coloring,
The science behind tops
Tops illustrate a several physics concepts involving angular momentum, friction, and centrifugal force.
Angular momentum is the amount of rotation an object has based on shape, size, and speed. Tops spin on an axis until friction eventually causes them to spin slower and slower. Eventually a spinning top will lose enough speed to make it wobble and stop.
Friction is a force that slows down objects sliding against each other. The tops made with skewers tend to slow down faster than the ones made with smooth marbles or beads at the bottom.
Centrifugal force is a force that pushes away from the center when something spins. It’s actually not a true force as defined in science. In both of our spin art tops its the apparent force that is causing the paint to fly out from the center as it lands on the lid or CD.
If you got bit by the DIY making bug check out 40+ ideas for homemade toys here:
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