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This springy balloon yo-yo is fun to play with, easy to make, and can be created with things that you may already have in the cupboard. It can also teach children a nice lesson in resourcefulness, helping them understand that toys can be invented from simple objects. In this day and age of toys overflowing from grocery shelves and toy baskets, this is always a welcome lesson in my home!

I attached a balloon to a funnel and filled it with rice. Small seeds or beans would work too. Or you could go with Sherry and Donna’s plan and partially fill with water.

I tied up the end of the balloon and secured one rubber band around it with a knot.

I looped another rubber band onto the first one…

…and carried on with this looping and attaching until I achieved the desired length. I used four rubber bands per yo-yo, but this would all depend on the size of the bands and the height of the child (or person using the yo-yo…it could be you!).

After making these, we took our yo-yo everywhere  as a diversion. We were visiting grandma and grandpa at a hotel, and N found a way to entertain herself while everyone finished up with breakfast. If you can believe it, this was the best photo…playing with the yo-yo is active business that turned all attempts at getting a clear photo into a blurry mess!

27 Comments

  1. I love that post from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning, too – and have had it tucked away until a nice day this summer – but I never thought of using rice/beans instead of the water 🙂 Great resources!

    • Isn’t that post (like every post from Sherry and Donna) inspiring?! When it gets nice and hot here, we’ll be looking for any excuse to fill balloons with water too.

  2. We got these for the kids at a craft show last year and they were decorated! That could be another fun thing to do! The lady said she blew them up with air first and painted them and then delated the air before proceeding 🙂

    So cute!!! The kids play with them still, so they do last! hahaha!!

  3. Fun! I had these earmarked for rice too after our water ones quite triumphantly broke when one very excited little boy smacked them down on the concrete with much gusto. This then became the new game 🙂 I have a version up my sleeve which should be fun for when we finally get through this newborn/moving phase 🙂

    • You are incredible with the blogging/commenting with a new baby and big move underway! I’m flattered that you made time to stop and visit little ol’ TinkerLab in the midst of it all 🙂 Look forward to seeing what you have planned, Kate.

  4. Oh, and the latest toy we have invented is comprised of a cardboard tube and a vacuum cleaner attachment. Voila! A vacuum cleaner just perfect for little people. Now we both do the vacuuming, and I can actually get it done!

    • I love toys that help with cleaning! This afternoon N poured and filled containers in the sink while I got all the dishes done.

  5. Rachele, we agree that it’s SO nice for the children to get such enjoyment out of a simple, inexpensive, easily replaceable toy for a change. We’ve even made them using sand which work really well. In fact a little water and sand makes for a great yo yo and a lovely sensory ball. You can make the balloons a little stronger by cutting of the neck of a second ballon and covering the first one too … then again bursting water balloons can be a whole lot of fun as well!
    Donna 🙂 🙂

    • Oh, sand and water would feel great! And strengthening the balloon with layers is not only functional, but it could look cool too. What about cutting holes into the top layer balloon in order to see through to the first balloon. And then add even more layers?! I guess you may be seeing this activity from me again. And I just loved how you invited the kids make painting with their yo-yo’s. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  6. What a great idea, so easy and simple. We got some balloons at a party today, I think I might turn them into yo-yo’s with my girls 🙂

  7. My wife and I picked up these kind of kitchen tools for the
    Two year aged for Love Day to be together with the Melissa and Doug Kitchen he
    received for Christmas.i’m also finding that my Extra fussy oldest boy is certainly
    wanting new stuff to take because he is so fascinated by the
    act of food prep.

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