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Make a simple whirlygig DIY toy, sometimes known as a spinner, from recycled cardboard and our printable template. This is a fun STEM (or STEAM) craft idea for kids of all ages, inspired by a classic which has been around for centuries.

This whirlygig craft was originally published in 2015 and has been updated and republished for today’s audience.

You might also like our bouncy paper frog craft

How to make a whirlygig - free printable patterns for kids

How to make a whirlygig - free printable patterns for kids

You might have heard of whirlygigs before – they’ve been around for generations. Some people call them ‘spinners’.

Apparently even the Native Americans had their own version of this toy as early as 500BC, and they were also popular back in the great depression using old buttons or similar as the centre piece when kids didn’t have many (if any) manufactured toys.

Whirlygigs are very easy to make, almost too easy, and kids will love to watch the patterns twirl and whirl around. Our printable template gives you a few different patterns as well as a blank one so kids can get creative and design their own.

OK, let’s get started on the craft…

How to make a whirlygig

You will need:

• String
• A scrap of heavy recycled cardboard
• Gluestick
• Scissors
• Kitchen skewer
• Our printable whirlygig pattern template

How to:

Print out your templates and choose which two patterns you’d like to use best.

printable whirlygig templates

printable whirlygig templates

how to make a spinner

how to make a spinner

Glue one piece onto your recycled cardboard scrap, cut around it with the scissors, and then glue the second pattern onto the reverse. Poke two small holes in the whirlygig with the kitchen skewer and thread the string through, tying in a knot once done.

cardboard whirlygig craft

cardboard whirlygig craft

cardboard spinner craft

cardboard spinner craft

That’s all! Now just twirl and whirl.

cool STEM craft idea for kids, make a whirlygig with free printable template

cool STEM craft idea for kids, make a whirlygig with free printable template

free cardboard spinner template

free cardboard spinner template

printable checkered whirlygig craft

printable checkered whirlygig craft

design your own whirlygig template

design your own whirlygig template

The girls both had a turn at designing their own version too using the blank template.

Have fun!

More DIY toy ideas:

• Make a spinning top from milk bottle lids
• Make a toy train using egg cartons
Paper scrap crowns are a fun idea for pretend play
• Make some yummy-looking rock cakes for toy tea parties
• Make some fun bath boats from sponges and duct tape
• Make a musical shaker from toilet rolls and duct tape
• Upcycle an old cereal box into a fun dinosaur board game

Fun STEM idea

Fun STEM idea