Rural System's

The Toys Group

developing healthful toys and play experiences

The Around

Around at least longer than 60 years, children have played with a toy that The Toys Group calls an Around. One person thought they might have been called "bolos" after the item thrown to capture small mammals and large birds. There have probably been other names (and we invite information about them and the year when you may have first seen them used).

The Around is shown at the right. It is two wooden balls each 2 inches in diameter held together by a heavy cotton string or leather thong 3 feet long. The balls are made by hand or by lathe. They are made from woods from well managed Rural System forests .

The player moves several feet away from others for safety. The player grasps the cord about in the middle between thumb and forefinger. In the other hand he or she holds one ball. A simple up and down motion of 5-6 inches will cause the unheld ball to spin in a circle at the end of the cord that is still held at the half-way spot. When a moderately fast, smoothly-spinning circle is gained, the other hand pushes or throws the other ball in the opposite direction at a position exactly opposite to the now-spinning ball. The two balls are maintained in a single smooth circle, each propelled by one motion but spinning in opposite directions.

The game is played in many forms alone or in competition

  1. plays per minute (speed in general)
  2. total spins; longest time
  3. speed
  4. unusual position (e.g., side, overhead, or with the other hand)
  5. grasping the cord in positions other than the exact middle
  6. tossing items at or through the spinning circle
  7. using different size Arounds, graduating with experience with the small one
  8. longest cord
  9. just for fun, learning a new "trick"

A pack of three graduated-size arounds may be offered. They will be demonstrated to tourists, competitions held (similar to the marketing done for yoyos), and they will be offered as camp prizes, birthday party gifts, and especially in retirement and farewell celebrations since the honoree has "been around."

Artful painting of the balls and organic dying of the string (e.g., walnut or wild indigo) may be considered, but first issues will be of colorful wood (e.g. 2-color cedar) or butternut. They will be numbered for value-added purposes. Extra string packets will be sold.

Each will contain information and instructions and a TV clip will be made available for instructing first users and showing winners of various competitions.

There may be symbolism in the display for team leaders and executives.

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
October 23, 2006