Making cool spinning tops as a VBS craft are sure to be a hit for everyone. Kids will love the creative process of making a top that reveals unexpected colors. Leaders will enjoy facilitating the creative process of having the kids make a top of their own design. Directors will love the cheap supplies. Everyone has old CDs around and can quickly collect bottle caps, right?
This activity works well with Group’s VBS Treasured theme. In making the tops, the students will be prompted to think about how God knows all the treasures inside them. “God knows you” is the Treasured VBS Bible point of Day 1.
This activity has STEM connections. The template for the spinner is a Benham disk. When objects spin, our brains need to process the spinning colors very quickly. The black and white images on the Benham disk create alternative flashes of black and white that blend in such a way that we see colors we may not expect.
Opening Discussion: God knows us!
Prep: Put a completed spinner top in a closed box.
Note: For a large group consider an alternative demo using a variable speed electric drill and a bigger Benham template
Show the group the gift box and ask these discussion questions:
- Gift boxes are full surprises. Today’s box contains the surprise craft we will make today. What do you think is inside?
- Does God know what is inside box? God has those powers, right?
- Just like God can see inside this box, God also can see inside you! What does God know about you that other do not know just be looking at you?
Open the box and demo the spinner:
Take out the top. Spin it both directions and have the kids say what colors they see. Explain how it looks so plain but it has an unexpected colored rings when spun. It is so cool to see such amazing results from a plain black and white top.
Discuss how God know what we have inside:
Just like the top we all have hidden beauty and treasure inside us. Tell the kids they will need to answer the prompt written on the spinner template:
God knows my _________________________
On the whiteboard, ask for volunteers to share what ideas they have to fill in the blank. Possible answers are:
- true spirit
- inner joy
- Marbles to fit hole of CDs
- Caps from soda beverage bottles
- Glue gun
- Benham Disc pattern, printed on white cardstock (see Figure 2)
- Pencils, Scissors, Tape
- Optional: Sharpies or Chalk markers like these from Hobby Lobby
Important: Safety Advice for the Hot Gluing:
An adult or teen helpers needs to do the hot gluing required for securing the marble and the cap on top of it. It can be a station that is manned by an adult or teen helper during student work time. Students can take turns coming up to the station to get their tops glued together while everyone is given time to cut out and attach the template to their Benham disk. If this station setup is not feasible, then hot glue the CD spinners together before camp.
Directions for Adult or Teen assemblers:
- Hot glue the marble to the middle of the CD. Try to make sure not glue ends up on the spinning part of the marble (see Figure 3).
- Hot glue the soda bottle cap on top of the marble on the side of the CD that will be the top (see Figure 4).
Directions for Students:
- On the Benham pattern, fill in the prompt “God knows my ____________________________.”
- Cut out the Benham pattern including the inner circle section.
- Place the Benham top on the disk and secure with tape (Figure 5).
- Optional: Take an extra top and use the Sharpie or chalk markers to draw fun patterns and messages (Figure 6).
Be sure to offer time for students to fully explore their tops. Some ideas are:
- Do you see different colors if you spin different directions? Compare the order of colors from the center to the outer edge.
- How long can you spin your top?
- Who can spin their top the longest?
Additional Alternative VBS Activites for Treasured VBS
Coloring sheets: printable coloring sheet to fit the theme
DIY Kaleidoscope: make a cool working kaleidoscope that is a treasure full of wonderful colors