We’ve recently made kites, pinwheels, paper airplanes, and straw fliers primarily out of paper. Today we’re continuing the paper crafting STEAM projects by making spinners! These were another great easy to make and fun to play with educational paper craft! 

MATERIALS:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard 
  • String (about 24″ is a good length)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons or markers
  • Bowl (5″ or 6″ diameter – we use it to trace a circle) 

PROCEDURE:

  1. Make 2 circles on a piece of paper (we traced a bowl)

2. Color a fun design in the circles. Markers show up much better than crayons (we used crayons and we couldn’t really see our designs well). I recommend making a fun pattern, or making at least 2 crossing lines across the circle and putting colors in each quadrant. You can put two primary colors repeating, then when it spins it will make the secondary color.

3. Cut our the circles 

4. Draw the same size circle (we used the bowl again) onto cardboard and cut it out

5. Glue the paper circles to both sides of cardboard, with the drawings facing out

6. Poke two small holes in the center of the cardboard 

7. Thread string through the holes

8. Tie the two loose ends of string together 

9. Grab each end of the string and loop the wheel in a circle to twist the string. Then pull the string tight to unravel the twist and spin the spinner. 

STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:

  • Science: We exert force to twist the string which creates potential energy in the twisted string. When we pull the twisted string tight, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as it unwinds. The kinetic energy spins the disk faster and it can create a sound.
  • Art: Try coloring patterns and designs that will move as the spinner spins. Or practice primary and secondary colors by making red and yellow color blocks, which will make orange when it’s spinning. 
  • Math: This is a good opportunity to learn about circles – young kids can practice drawing the circle, cutting it out, holding the shape and tracing the round edges with their fingers… This can also be fraction practice if you draw pie slices and color each one in different colors. 

This was another successful easy STEAM activity that my kids enjoyed. Creating the spinners was almost as fun as playing with them. I was surprised how easy it was for my 3 year old to wind up the spinner and pull it tight. Both my kids loved playing with their homemade spinners!

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