Yo-yos (Tagalog for "come come" or "come back") have been around for thousands of years, but the earliest recorded account of the yo-yo as a toy was in the mid 1800s in the Philippines. It was also a Filipino man who was the first to start making yo-yos in the U.S. in the early 1920s. By 1928, yo-yos were a craze and Flores had his own factory in California. In 1930, Donald Duncan bought out Flores, began mass-producing yo-yos and soon became the leading yo-yo brand in the U.S.!
While yo-yos are simple to craft (see below on how to make your own), they pack a lot of educational opportunity. The physics that goes into how a yo-yo moves is incredible! In just making a yo-yo move up and down the string, you can discuss potential and kinetic energy, momentum and friction as they are all involved in the process.
MAKE YOUR OWN YO-YOS
While original yo-yos were made of wood and are now made of plastic, you can make a yo-yo out of a variety of household items. Enjoy this (awesomely retro) video to learn two ways to make a yo-yo out of items you probably already have in your house!
VISIT THE NATIONAL YO-YO MUSEUM
Yes, there is a national museum dedicated to yo-yos! If you find yourself in or around Chico, California, check it out! http://nationalyoyo.org
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