Fidget spinners have taken the summer by storm. They’re entertaining and a great way to keep children’s hands busy. Want to make a personalized spinner for your child with your child? Follow these easy directions to create a one of a kind spinner while learning about physics and mechanics.
Please note: This experiment uses super glue, rubbing alcohol, ball bearings and tools, so young children will require adult supervision.
- 4 skateboard bearings (available online, at a skateboard store, or on that old skateboard leftover in the garage)
- A tool with a sharp point like an eyeglass screwdriver or file
- 1 small piece of paper, square, 6 cm by 6 cm
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- 1 White Shoelace
- Permanent Markers
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Remove the cover from one of the bearings so you can see the ball bearings inside.
- Draw an X across the 6 cm by 6 cm piece of paper, from corner to corner.
- Center the exposed bearing over the middle of the X on the paper so you can see the intersection through the hole. Evenly space the remaining three bearings around the center bearing, all touching the center bearing, but not each other.
- Time to glue! Add a drop of superglue to the junction between each covered bearing and the center bearing. Don’t use too much glue and try to avoid getting it on the ball bearings. You’ll do the same for the other side.
- Let dry. Flip the whole spinner over and place a drop of superglue at each junction.
- Let dry. Stand the spinner up vertically. Add a drop of superglue to each of the side connections.
- While drying, it’s time to get crafty! Take the white shoelace and add dots with the permanent markers in whatever colors you like.
- Then, hold the shoelace up and drip rubbing alcohol down it to make the colors blend. You might want to keep a dish below the shoelace to catch any dribbling colors.
- When the bearings are dry, use the glue gun to glue the shoelace around the edges of the spinner. Fill in empty gaps with more hot glue.
- Trim off the excess shoelace to save for another project.
- Spin away!
That’s cool! What happens?
There’s not much connectivity between the bearings surrounding the center bearing, so there’s very little friction, allowing the bearings to rotate. The center bearing is called the axis of rotation. The outside bearings provide enough mass to spin around the center, until the ball bearings in the center bearing slow it down through friction.
Decorate with other types of materials to experiments with what works best. You can also use Lego parts to create spinners too! Try different sizes of Legos.
References: kitchenpantryscientist.com, frugalfun4boys.com