How to Make Penny Spinners

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Penny-Spinner-Swirl

Who here have tons of Amazon boxes laying around their house? I sure have way more than I would like. So I am on a mission to find DIY crafts or activities we can do with cardboard. This way, we can upcycle the cardboard into fun toys and recycle the scraps. 

Penny spinners are simple and easy to make, and it literally costs you 1 cent if you already have all the supplies in the house! 

You can customize it for different holidays as well. Draw some red, white, and blue for the 4th of July, green shamrocks for St. Patrick’s day, hearts for Valentine’s day … you get the idea!

Make a few and let your child go wild with their imagination and create their own designs!

How to Make a Penny Spinner

Materials:

  • Cardboard (you can also use a cereal box or cardstock paper)
  • A small bowl or cup (about 3”-4” in diameter)
  • Pennies
  • (Optional) Paper 
  • Knife
  • Hot glue or tape

Instructions:

  1. Place the bowl on the cardboard and trace a circle on the cardboard.  Penny-Spinner-Cardboard
  2. Cut out the circle.
  3. (Optional) Repeat steps #1-2 except with a piece of paper instead of cardboard. ** This step is optional because you can draw directly on the cardboard instead of a piece of paper. Since I really wanted the colors to really pop when I spin the top, I preferred to draw on a white piece of paper instead of brown cardboard. Penny-Spinner-Paper
  4. (Optional) Glue the paper to the cardboard.
  5. Design the penny spinner!
  6. Use a knife, cut a slit in the center of the cardboard for the penny. You want to cut the slit just a little shorter than the diameter of the penny so it’s a tight fit. Penny-Spinner-Design
  7. Insert the penny through the slit. Glue it on the underside of the spinner. If you don’t have hot glue at home, you can use tape to hold the penny in place. Penny-Spinner-Hot-Glue
  8. Spin the penny spinner and watch it go! Penny-Spinner-Rainbow

Wasn’t that easy? You can make lots of penny spinners with your kids and try to spin them all at the same time. 

Here are some experiments you can conduct with the penny spinner:

  • Try different thicknesses of cardboard. A cereal box is a lot thinner than an Amazon box.
  • Try with different coins! It might raise the price of the “penny” spinner a little, but I think you can afford it. Plus you can always take the coins back after your kids are done playing.
  • Try different designs! My personal favorite is the swirl.

Color Mixing with Penny Spinners

The penny spinner toy is a fun way to teach your kids about color mixing. When you spin the top, you mix the colors together to create a new color. 

For example, red plus blue is purple. So when you draw red and blue patterns on the penny spinner, you will see purple when it spins really fast. 

You can even go more complicated and color mix 3 different colors. For example, try red, white, and orange. Did you get watermelon?

For more color activities, check out these blog posts:

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