Spinning Science Kiwi Crate

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Here’s our unboxing of Travis’s latest arrival from Kiwi Crate, with projects devoted to angular momentum (otherwise known as spinning!). We give this one high marks for science and art, both.

First we needed to assemble a few Stacking Tops from the provided plastic pins and wooden discs.

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These were neat since Travis could mix and match the sizes of discs (labeled 1 through 4 from smallest to largest) and see how this affected the way they would spin. Little sister Veronika wanted to try her hand at building a top, too!

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The different pegs spin differently, for added experimentation. Blue ones spin in place, whereas the green ones could skitter across a table, making for lots of squeals of delight.

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Once the tops are made, you can move on to Spinning Top Games. Travis helped assemble a launcher, which is a wooden arm fastened to a weighted cup.

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The tops slot up into the arm, and when you pull the felt release, should ideally spin well when they hit the ground. Unfortunately, we found the mechanism to be a bit faulty and had better luck just spinning by hand!

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Travis then made a frame for the games from wooden pieces that slot together like a jigsaw puzzle. The first game was called Point Walk: Spin the top and score a point for every time it “walks” across the colored dots on the game board. Travis’s high score was 8!

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The second game was Pom-Pom Knockdown, for which we placed the provided small pom-poms in piles. Launch the top, then see if you can make the pom-poms fly off the frame. Travis thought it was so funny every time a pom-pom went skittering.

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We set aside the games and turned to a very STEM-based Top Experiment. If Travis attached the blue peg to a provided disc and then added various wooden weights, he could record differences in how long the top could spin.

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Kids can use a stopwatch and pencil to record results, making this feel like a real “lab” experiment. Quite honestly, everyone was wowed when the version with the most balanced weights spun a full 31 seconds, whereas our other attempts averaged about 8 seconds.

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For some art in all this, the final project was to use a plastic top as a Doodle Top. The provided mini markers fit right into this plastic spinner, and we placed a piece of provided circular paper under the wooden game frame. Give it a spin and make some swirly art!

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Unfortunately we never got this top to spin for long (I’m not sure if that was due to a faulty top or the fault of our spinning abilities), resulting only one time in what could be called a doodle, and mostly getting scratchy scribbles.

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However, Travis liked the suggestion to see if he could turn the doodle into something recognizable. I loved watching him trace the lines and then tell me this was a Person, a Sun Pig, and a Dancing Flower.

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Kiwi almost always provides a suggestion to upcycle the crate that all these fantastic materials come in, and this month was no different. Travis traced circles onto the lid of the cardboard box, and I cut them out. Kids can get as artistic as they want decorating the resulting circles, although Travis was more interested in the next step.

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Poke a hole in the center, then wedge in a coin (quarters work best). Give this Box Top Coin Top a twirl!

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Explore magazine had lots of great info on the science behind spinning, as well as a quick Toppling Coin Top experiment: Simply place on a coin on a surface and let go; of course it plops down immediately. But if Travis gave it a spin first… angular momentum keeps it up!

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We couldn’t end the fun without edible tops, of course, namely Apple-Top Tops. Use a tablespoon to carve little semi-circles from an apple, then insert lollipop sticks into the skin side of each piece. The kids loved these little fruit “lollipops”, as well as testing out their spin-ability!

Apple Pop Tops (1)

Overall, an excellent crate from Kiwi Co that we highly recommend. Cheers!

Apple Pop Tops (3)


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