What’s a Yo-Yo?

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A yo-yo is a toy consisting of two disks connected by an axle and a string. It has been used for centuries and can be made at home. The core is the axle, and the toy can be made of various materials. The loop of string around the axle allows the yo-yo to spin, and players can perform tricks.

A yo-yo is a toy consisting of two identical disks connected with an axle, around which a string is wound. The basic design has been used to make toys for many centuries and on several continents, as paintings and drawings from China, Europe and Africa suggest. The modern design is a little more streamlined, and some specially designed yo-yos have unique characteristics, but it’s essentially a toy that could be made at home, with some effort. People of all ages around the world use these toys, although most players start when they are young.

The core of a yo-yo is the axle, which is attached to two discs, made of metal, wood, plastic, glass or ceramic materials. The discs have the same weight in order to balance each other and are often decorated with paintings or carvings. Some modern toys light up during use with the addition of small LEDs inside. A length of rope is attached with a slipknot on one end for the player to grip and a ring for turning around the axle.

The loop of string around the axle contributes to the flexibility of the toy. The use of a noose, rather than a knotted tie, was pioneered in the Philippines and is known as a loop snare. Because the string is wound, the axle can rotate freely within it, allowing the yo-yo to spin when it reaches the end of the string, rather than stopping. This is known as sleeping and is the foundation of many tricks, including the simplest trick, where the yo-yo is returned to the string and into the player’s hand.

To use a yo-yo, the string is wrapped around the axle and the loop at the loose end is placed on the player’s finger. The hand is held palm down, with the toy lightly grasped, then it is gently tossed towards the ground. The string unwinds as the device travels, until all of the string has been struck and the yo-yo comes to a stop. Many players learn to do inventive tricks, some of which are quite complicated, and strut their stuff in competitions around the world.

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