The Yo-Yo illustrated, is a simple child’s toy, consisting of two wooden discs joined by an axle to which a cord is tied and wound. The child places a finger through a loop at the end of the cord and lets the Yo-Yo drop and with practice can make the Yo-Yo return up the cord and repeat the action several times.

More modern versions are painted in bright colours and some have LED lights that flash as the Yo-Yo spins.

Yo-Yos are not recommended for children under the age of three, but more sophisticated models are for children over the age of eight and adults.

There are two types of Yo-Yo. One, named responsive, returns to the palm of the hand with just a simple pull. This is the type illustrated. The other, unresponsive, stays spinning at the end of the string and only returns to the hand after a trick called a ‘bind’ is performed.

People can become so skilled at performing elaborate tricks that a World Yo-Yo Championship is held annually.

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More information:

Date 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
Material(s) Wood
Item number MBPO76

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User Stories

A museum in Berlin has a vase featuring a picture of a boy playing with a terracotta Yo-Yo in about 440 BC.

This model is made from wood and cord, but modern toys are plastic, with more sophisticated models made of aluminium and featuring ball bearings.

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