Homemade Button String Toy
The button string toy has quite a history!
As children in the 1950s, the button string toy was one of our favorites. It entails an object in the middle of a cord that can be made to buzz by winding the cord while keeping the end stationary. The object moves by pulling and releasing the tension on the cord. The most common way that it was made was a large button and some string.
This toy is interactive and, although it doesn't seem to do much, the hypnotic whirring and the pulling required to keep it moving kept us busy for a long time. I don't think any of us knew or cared about its history. It was just fun.
What You'll Need
- Button: Various sizes work, but I find that big buttons work best. However, children are very inventive. At school, they found a bottle cap and punched two holes in it, which made an entirely different sound. Kids can also draw a circle on cardboard with a compass and make two holes in the middle.
- String: Honestly, when we were little, there were not as many choices. Twine works for a little while and then it unravels and breaks. Kite string comes in different formulas from polyester to an almost clear fishing line. It works well, but it is the off-season for kites. The best is a , which seems to last longer. cotton thread
- Ruler: It should measure 36". I would have used a yardstick if I could find one.
- Scissors: These are needed to cut the string.
- Cut the string to 36".
- Thread the string on the button. If you are using a button with 4 holes, thread it through the opposing holes.
- Tie a secure knot in the end. Make sure it can't come undone and cause injury.
Button Spinner Demonstration
How to Use This Toy
You made this exceptional toy for a favorite child. It is a string and a button. They look at you with a blank stare. What do you do next?
The toy doesn't have batteries or a thousand little pieces with directions. It is easy enough to show a child how it works and what it does. However, if you are sending it as a gift, you might want to send it with a little card with instructions.
- Grasp one end of the loop with each hand.
- Make sure that the button is in the center.
- Swing the button forward in a circular motion to wind the toy.
- Gently pull the string out and then relax the tension while it winds. Then, pull it out again. Once the button is spinning, keep up the in-and-out motion.
Pass on the Entertainment!
Niles has decided that it is a great toy to take places. The string fits around his neck like a necklace, and it's an easy toy to transport. The last time I saw him, he was trying to keep it going while attempting to step over it and back again.
What We Learned
- We used a 2" button and a 1 1/2" button. The 1 1/2" button does not work with the twine because it is not heavy enough. It does work great on the string.
- Instead of a button, you can use an 1/8" piece of plywood or the cardboard mentioned above. The amount of humming depends on the weight of the string and the disc.