A whirligig is a simple toy that will provide hours of entertainment for children. They are also great homemade crafts, easy and fun to make. There are many different kinds of whirligigs; the one below is made using string and a paper plate. This classic summertime activity is a great way to keep kids occupied. It is best done on a sunny day with at least a little breeze. Here’s how to make a whirligig:
Paper plate (one per whirligig)
String or yarnArt supplies (crayons, markers, paint, colored pencils, stickers, etc)
- Decorate the paper plate. Before you learn how to build a whirligig, you need to decorate the plate. Allow each child to decorate BOTH SIDES of the plate using crayons, markers, paint, colored pencils, sequins, stickers, or other art supplies. Encourage them to be creative!
- Cut a spiral. Starting at the outer edge, cut the paper plate in a spiral towards the center of the plate. The spirals should be between 1” and 2” wide; any thinner and the paper may tear in the wind. You can draw a spiral on the paper plate first, to guide you in cutting it.
- Punch a hole. Punch a hole in the center of the plate, on the end of the last spiral. Make sure that it is in the center of the piece of paper plate. If too near the edge, it will break when you run with the whirligig in the wind. You may want to reinforce this hole with tape. Tie a string through this hole. If you don’t have a hole puncher, you can also tape the string to the top of the spiral.
- Enjoy! Run with the whirligig, like a kite. Let the wind spin and twirl it around. It can also be hung from the edge of your house to catch the wind, but don’t leave it out in wet or windy weather, since it is only paper.
You can make this easy craft idea any time, but this particular whirligig is great for the summer. All age groups will enjoy spending a couple of hours on this project. Just set out the supplies and demonstrate how to make a whirligig, and then leave the kids to their own creativity.